Rejected by Brighton and Hove Albion - but Tuck has prospered at Bognor

Doug Tuck on the ball for the Rocks at Bishop's Stortford a fortnight ago / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Doug Tuck on the ball for the Rocks at Bishop's Stortford a fortnight ago / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Doug Tuck has told how he got his career back on track with the Rocks after the anguish of failing to make it a professional footballer with Brighton.

The Bognor playmaker lines up for his 301st appearance for Jack Pearce's outfit against Sussex rivals Worthing at Nyewood Lane on Saturday in the Bostik Premier division, Tuck has lifted the lid on his journey from the Seagulls to the heart of the Rocks midfield.

Tuck will bid to try to help Bognor bounce back from a 4-0 drubbing at home to second-placed Haringey Borough last time of asking -- a reverse that dented promotion hopes through the play-offs.

And with Worthing jumping two points ahead of the seventh-placed home side into fifth in the table with a 2-1 win at Wingate & Finchley, the derby clash, dubbed "El Classicoast" by fans, comes at a crucial time in the campaign.

Tuck has faced the Woodside Road outfit on many occasions and was pulling strings in the middle for Bognor when they claimed bragging rights from the derby encounter at Worthing with a 2-0 win in December.

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Speaking to editor Daniel Storey in the Bognor programme for Saturday's game, Tuck has lifted the lid on his arrival at the Rocks as a rookie in 2012. He said: “I was a scholar at Brighton at 18 years of age at the time I moved here. It was of course hard being released and many players actually stop playing altogether but I still wanted to play.

“Obviously I still had dreams of being a pro footballer back then but at the same time I wanted to play regular football. My uncle had played at Bognor and for other non-league clubs in Sussex so I knew about the club and non-league and I knew it was a good standard.

"When I first joined Bognor, I didn’t expect too much. I just came down to train and hoped to play maybe two or three games and given my size at the time I didn’t expect to be playing much but the team had a lot of injuries after I joined and I got my chance and things really grew for me from there.”