Leamington Football Club can today confirm that striker Courtney Baker-Richardson has left the club and returned to the professional ranks of the game, signing a 2 year contract with Premier League side Swansea City.
Courtney leaves having made 74 appearances for Brakes and scoring 26 goals, none more important than the extra time winner in last season’s play off final that helped secure our return to the National League North. It was this form that attracted scouts to our pre season games, and after spending time with Leicester City, who also offered him a deal, he has opted for the move to South Wales as his career takes an exciting turn.
The striker was glowing in his praise for both the club and his manager as he prepared to make the switch, saying ‘My time at Leamington has gone better than expected. I came here with ambition and drive, I just needed the gaffer to take full faith in me. To begin with it was a bit rocky, but we got there in the end. Last season I excelled and just kept on going. I didn’t really want to play on the right wing but for the sake of the team sometimes you’ve just got to dig in and do your job, and it was getting results so obviously from that, being at Leamington has definitely pushed my career on from where it was prior to coming here.’
‘I’ve signed a two year deal with Swansea and will be playing in the Under 23 side, but with a high potential of first team football. If I am scoring goals and performing then they have said that they won’t be going for loan deals if they need players, and will look to push the likes of myself through from the Academy.’
‘Leamington have a big place in my heart, i’m a supporter now. Everything about the club, from the backroom, right through, is class. Any Saturdays I get off, I’ll be coming to watch Leamington!’
While manager Paul Holleran was disappointed to be losing one of his star players he was also very pleased that another was stepping up to the professional game, saying ‘If players get into full time football or get attached to Premier League football clubs then it's good for Leamington Football Club. We’re sorry to see Courtney go, but it’s a great opportunity for him and we hope he does really well. As much as it's disappointing with the timing of it, the kid is 21 years of age, he's done ever so well for us in his time here, and that's part and parcel of what happens. He's been great to work with, put some massive performances in and scored some very important goals. I always say to supporters sometimes, enjoy watching some of these kids, because we've got another two or three young players who I think will go on to do well in the game. As long as when they're with you they conduct themselves well and they work really hard, which Courtney did, like a lot of other players, you look forward to watching their progress, and like other players that have moved on, they always speak very fondly of Leamington Football Club.
Courtney is following in the footsteps of former Brakes strikers Jacob Blyth and Danny Newton in returning to the professional game. We would like to wish him all the very best for his career going forward, and thank him for everything he has done for Leamington Football Club during his time with us. We will be watching his progress with interest, and there will always be a warm welcome for him at the Phillips 66 Community Stadium.