FARNBOROUGH Town boss Tommy Taylor has completed, arguably, his most exciting signing of the summer by winning the race to land Southend United striker Barrington Belgrave.

Taylor beat off stiff competition from several other clubs — including that of former owner Graham Westley at Stevenage — to land the livewire 22-year-old on a one-year deal.

Belgrave started his career as an apprentice at Norwich City before moving to Plymouth Argyle.

From there, he joined Yeovil Town where he spent just over one season and really made his name.

Ironically his last game was against Farnborough in September 2001 before he was brought back into the professional game by Southend United, where last season, he netted three senior goals.

News that Belgrave's contract had run out at Roots Hall alerted several clubs, including Aldershot initially and then Stevenage, before Taylor swooped to complete a surprise deal on Saturday morning.

The boss said: "Barrington is a quick and gifted forward who has his best years still ahead of him. The signing underlines the type of player that I am looking to bring into the club".

Belgrave's signing is the first in a three-pronged attack on well-known Football League players, launched by Taylor and Boro chairman Vic Searle this week.

Manager and chairman are due to meet the other two players in a bid to add to their squad today and have also revealed that talks to keep both Lenny and Chris Piper at the club are still on-going despite competition from neighbours Aldershot and Dagenham & Redbridge amongst others.

Taylor was also due to meet the pair today (Tuesday).

If the two other targets, plus the Pipers follow Belgrave and Nick Burton into the club, then it is unlikely that Taylor and Searle will add any more signings until pre-season where some of the 600 released Football League professionals will be coming down to Cherrywood Road to try out.

But despite the fact that these signings are exciting Boro supporters looking forward to another year in the top-flight, Mr Searle has come in with a timely warning to those getting too carried away.

He said: "The one thing I have always maintained when I took over this club is that we would put a strong team together.

"But I am not going to put this club in financial difficulty and if the player/s are not affordable then we will not sign them on, no matter how good they are.

"Finances have to be the number one priority for us to survive which is why it is very doubtful that we will make any more final decisions on the player front until the pre-season, when players will be out desperately looking for clubs."

Mr Searle has also revealed that he is in talks with another (un-named) member of last year's playing squad about staying on another year.

l Main club sponsors Alexander Francis are holding an open drinks evening for supporters to meet up and ask any questions if they so wish.

The event takes place in the clubhouse tomorrow evening (Wednesday) at 7.00pm.