AFC Totton AFC Totton Pitching In - Partners with Southern Football League

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FORMER DORKING WANDERERS player Tom Blair has become Jimmy Ball’s third signing of the summer, having agreed to join last season’s Southern League Premier Division South Runners-Up, AFC Totton.

The winger began his football career in Southampton’s academy, but his first steps into senior men’s football came as a 16-year-old at Bridport after he had been released by The Saints. He then joined his home town club Dorchester Town, for whom he went on to score 30 goals in 153 appearances.

He signed for Eastleigh on a free transfer in October 2020. The Spitfires loaned him to Salisbury for three months in the 2021/22 season, and he celebrated the move by scoring a 90th-minute winner on his debut for The Whites against his former club at Dorchester’s Avenue Stadium.

In November 2021, Blair joined Weymouth in the National League. They were relegated at the end of the 2021/22 campaign, so the second year of his spell at the Bob Lucas Stadium was spent in the National League South. He made a total of 76 appearances for The Terras, contributing six goals and 17 assists, helping them to avoid a second successive relegation on goal difference in 2022/23; both Weymouth and Dover Athletic stayed up despite having scored fewer goals than Dulwich Hamlet, who went down to the Isthmian League.

In the summer of 2023, Blair signed for Havant & Waterlooville in the National League South but he made his return to the National League within just a few months, representing Dorking Wanderers where he remained until his deal at Meadowbank expired this summer.

According to Transfermarkt’s online database, Blair, who is now 25 years-old and stands at 6’1”, plays primarily as a right-footed left winger, but he can also operate from the right flank. Upon signing for Dorking Wanderers, the Surrey-based club’s extroverted Chairman and Manager Marc White described him as “a really direct winger who can play left or right, brilliant end product, good height”.

Having signed for AFC Totton, Blair described his internet-infamous former boss at Dorking as “an owner-manager who can do things by his own rules but he knows what he wants; he’s very honest and straightforward to deal with, and he’s loyal to his players. I enjoyed working with him.”

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THE B GEES: Beattie, Blair and Ball Should Be Dancing, as they catch some early evening rays at the Snows Stadium.

When Blair met with his new boss Jimmy Ball and Director of Football James Beattie to finalise the paperwork and pose for photographs at the Snows Stadium on Wednesday evening, he told AFC Totton’s Matchday Programme:

“It’s a really exciting project here, which Jimmy described in detail. I live in Ferndown, so it’s fairly local for me, and it doesn’t feel like dropping down a level because this environment is as professional as you’ll find anywhere in non-league football. Jimmy told me how close Totton have just come to winning promotion and how determined they are to push for success this season, so I think it’s a good time to be coming on board.

“Obviously, I know all about James Beattie and the great career that he had in the game. He wouldn’t be involved if they weren’t doing things properly here. I’m really looking forward to it and to getting the new season under way.”

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Sayers Sports Photography

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