GREAT Wakering Rovers stalwart Billy Johnson says he wants to win the Essex Senior League next season to crown his tenth year at the club.

Johnson, 29, has been at Rovers for almost a decade but had a year to forget last term.

Rovers were relegated and the midfielder missed five months of the campaign with a knee injury.

But he is hopeful of bouncing back in the right way next season.

“We should be a Ryman North club,” he said. “We are better than the Essex Senior League but we have to use what happened last year in the right way and bounce back.

“When (former manager) Gary (Ansell) left last season a lot of the players left as well. It was difficult for us and we had a brand new squad.

“It didn’t come together but I am hopeful it will be different next year. We want to be winning the league.

“A couple of our players have won it before so we want to push on up. Teams don’t roll over in that league. You need older heads and I hope to play a part in that regard.”

The midfielder, from Westcliff, is set to be given a testimonial match in the forthcoming season - something he admits he is excited about.

And he says he will be fighting fit once the season begins.

“Ten years at a club at any level is an achievement,” he said. “I don’t know where the years have gone. OC (Great Wakering manager Iain O’Connell) gave me my debut in a cup game after I came through the reserves and I have been there ever since.

“It is great to have him back as I always liked playing for him.

“I injured my knee in Gary’s last game in charge in October and it was really frustrating watching the team struggle as I wanted to help.

“I am hopeful we can all have a good season.”