Cugley happy with Ter Horst return
Cugley happy with Ter Horst return

Neil Cugley says he’s delighted to have outstanding Johan Ter Horst back at the Fullicks Stadium after the young striker’s three years at Hull City and eight months at Maidstone United.

Ter Horst, who will be 23 in April, graduated via Invicta’s youth set-up to make a name for himself when he grabbed 28 goals in the 2013/14 season, firing Folkestone into runners’ up spot in what was then Ryman Division One South.

Then not long out of the Harvey Grammar School right next to the Invicta ground, the teenager was in a free-scoring Folkestone team that included Paul Booth and Dane Luchford, both of whom also passed 20 goals that season.

Johan had made his debut the previous year had obviously impressed Maidstone manager Jay Saunders with two superb strikes in a 2-2 draw against Saunders’ team at Folkestone and the Stones’ boss jumped at the chance of signing him when he was released by Hull last summer.

Ter Horst had enjoyed success for Hull’s Under 23 development squad and was often on the fringe of their first team during his three years on Humberside. But an unsettled period at City has seen a succession of changes  in management at the KCOM Stadium, especially since Steve Bruce quit following a row with controversial chairman Assem Allam in 2016.

A pre-season injury soon after joining Maidstone last July meant Johan had to wait for his debut at the Gallagher Stadium where he was involved in 15 games, starting seven times and scoring twice in the National League.

Invicta fans welcomed their former Player of the Year back with open arms and he scored twice in a five goal romp against Enfield when on loan back at Folkestone in December and he also found the net twice more against Dover Athletic at Crabble in the Semi-Final of the Kent Senior Cup the following week.

After watching Ter Horst grab two more goals at Worthing on Saturday,  boss Cugley said: “Maidstone let us know as soon as they’d decided things weren’t quite working out for him there. I met him for a coffee on Friday and ten minutes later he’d agreed to sign.

“I couldn’t let him go anywhere else and I believe that he could still make it at a higher level.

“The big thing is that we’ve got him for two years thanks to our  chairman and the board.

“Who knows what we might still achieve this season, but even if we don’t go up this time I believe that this time next year we can be right up there again.

“It looks like we might lose (at least a couple of) the big boys in our league if things stay as they are with Billericay, Dulwich and Margate, and then it’ll be far more of a level playing field for the rest of us.”

Invicta’s great Kent rivals Margate were also said to be interested in signing Ter Horst, but he has chosen to come back to Invicta among his many friends.