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Harriers' defender Martin Riley paid his own fee to join Cheltenham Town FC

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: July 20, 2010

Keen: Martin Riley

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Martin Riley was so desperate to join Cheltenham Town that he paid his own transfer fee to Kidderminster Harriers.

The central defender signed a one-year deal with the Robins last Saturday and made his debut in the second half of that afternoon's 5-0 friendly win over Gloucester City.

Because he is under 24, Riley was unable to leave Kidderminster as a free agent and Cheltenham could not afford to pay a fee.

But the 22-year-old had his heart set on a move to npower League Two Cheltenham and the chance to link up with his former manager at Aggborough, Mark Yates.

"I had to stump up some of my own cash to come and play for Cheltenham and that's how much I want to be here and be back in the Football league," Riley said.

"I had two good years at Kiddy and it's a great club, but I always felt I had to make the step up as soon as I could and I have finally got my wish."

England 'C' international Riley made 85 appearances for Harriers, scoring four goals, and he is clearly relishing the chance to work under Yates for a second time.

"Mark Yates is a top bloke, a great manager, and I really seemed to play well under him and so did Kiddy, so I hope I can re-enact that here at Cheltenham," he said.

"He is a manager you want to win for and in the dressing room at Kiddy all the lads got on well and the team spirit was brilliant."

Riley's introduction to life as a Cheltenham player on Saturday was cut short after half an hour as he was forced off the field after a bang to the mouth cut his lip and pushed back several of his front teeth.

He had three stitches in his upper lip and is due at the dentist this week to repair the damage.

"It was a bittersweet debut, because I was gutted to have to come off and I couldn't even talk properly after the game because of my teeth being pushed back," he said.

"But I was buzzing to finally be at Cheltenham and I want to knuckle down now and have a good season in League Two."

Riley will travel to South Wales with the rest of the Cheltenham squad tomorrow for three days of training and team bonding at the University of Swansea ahead of Saturday's friendly against Championship club Swansea.

■ Saturday's game between the Robins and the Swans at the Liberty Stadium is all-ticket for home and away supporters.

It is the only home friendly being played by the Swans and a large crowd is expected.

Tickets, costing £7 for adults and £1 for under-16s, can be purchased from the Cheltenham Town ticket office until 4pm on Friday.

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    bob houghton, france  |  July 24 2010, 6:48AM

    What is an England 'C' international ? Does it go down to 'Z' ? Paying his own fee sounds like a sacrifice but does anyone know how much the fee was ? I wouldn't have thought that the fee was very much and it's a huge worry that CTFC can't afford a fee that the player can dip into his own pocket for.

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    ricco, the shire  |  July 20 2010, 6:06PM

    richard III, saturdays performance was class and 'mavis' riley was one of the class, sweepinp up after danny andrew when needed, he might even depose lowe for a starting spot. i havnt felt this good to a start of a season since the cott's days(yr 2000 in the football league). IN EDDIE WE TRUST.

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    Richard lll, Cheltenham  |  July 20 2010, 5:30PM

    I know Yates has seen him play for Kiddy, but anyone else seen him action? The great news is, a high percentage of MY's signings have played either with him or with each other. Let's hope this bodes for a well-knitted team that can hit the ground running in League 2. After the last 2 friendllies, confidence, espeically in front of goal, shouldn't now be a problem, as it was for all of last season.

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    drewks, FoDean  |  July 20 2010, 4:01PM

    Agree 100% with all comments below; it'll be great to see this commitment on the pitch this year. I for 1 will not mind even if we end up struggling if we see all players pulling together and giving their all. The spirit of Jules lives on - well let's hope so anyway! All we need is this mysterious striker to come good and that seems to be a good summer's work, MY!

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    Craig, Cheltenham  |  July 20 2010, 2:14PM

    Also shows the kind of determined, hard working individuals a decent manager can get into a club when he's well liked and has a plan that he sticks to. There's no dig aimed at any particular previous manager there...

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    Paul, Cheltenham  |  July 20 2010, 10:56AM

    Well, there you are, people have been complaining that players are not committed to The Robins. Here's one young man who's put his money where his mouth is. Puts to shame some of the recent players who have been chasing the money.

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    Craig, Cheltenham  |  July 20 2010, 10:03AM

    I'm starting to get a good feeling about this coming season...

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    Dave, Cheltenham  |  July 20 2010, 9:33AM

    It is so refreshing to be both signing our first choice targets, and signing players that actually want to play for us. Welcome to Cheltenham Mr Riley.