FORMER FC Clacton stalwart Kevin Coyle admits it was a no-brainer to join Brightlingsea Regent – and believes this could be his last chance to shine at step three level.

The midfielder has swapped Tendring clubs and was officially confirmed as an R’s player on Saturday night.

He took part in their opening training sessions and will now be an integral part of the club’s squad as they prepare for their first-ever season in the Bostik League premier division.

“It’s very exciting for me,” said the long-serving Seasider, who cleaned up at last season’s end-of-year awards.

“(Brightlingsea boss) James (Webster) made contact about a month and a half ago and I knew straight away it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

“I’m realistic and know I’m not going to get another chance to play step three football.

“I’m 29 now and will be 30 on July 30.

“I haven’t got age on my side so realise I’ll never get another opportunity like this.

“It could even be the last move I make.

“I still feel I can do a job at that level and make a difference.

“I believe in myself and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have made the move.

“This is the most excited I’ve been about a new season for ages. Easily.

“Aside from the move I’ve made, I feel better and fitter than I’ve been for years.

“I’ve been working hard in the gym and am feeling the benefits.

“I had a knee injury last season but now, thankfully, it’s fine.

“Having a few weeks’ rest appears to have done the trick and it’s made me feel really confident that I can perform at this level.

“It’s a golden opportunity and I’m really looking forward to the prospect of playing in front of big crowds at places like Billericay and Dulwich.

“As a player, that gives you a real buzz.”

Coyle, the brother of former Seasiders manager David, has played for Stanway Rovers and Clacton since his last spell at North Road.

But he says things are different now compared to then.

He believes he is a different and more mature person – in addition to identifying lots of changes both on and off the pitch at Brightlingsea.

“I’m a different person now compared to a few years ago,” he said.

“Having a family calms you down and there comes a point in life where you have to grow up.

“There was a time when I did silly things and got myself into trouble but meeting my wife and having children was the starting point in terms of turning things round.

“Now I’ve got a completely different attitude and even when I was here a few years ago I still had a bit of a chip on my shoulder.

“I used to argue with people but I’m not like that anymore and other people have acknowledged that too, including James.

“He’s never doubted my ability and believes I’m plenty good enough for this level, but he can see I’m a different person now.

“It’s left me feeling really enthusiastic about next season.

“It’s going to be tough.

“There’s no doubt about that.

“I’ve never played at this level before but from what people tell me, it’s completely different and very fast and physical.

“I think we can do well, though.

“There’s something special about the club, on and off the pitch, and I really enjoyed our first double training session on Saturday.

“Everything was run properly and was so professional.

“Everyone knows how much progress the club has made but even in the three years since I left, it’s changed completely.

“Things like the pitch and ground are so impressive.

“It really looks the part and the fact it’s so enclosed and compact really makes you want to play there.”

While excited about his new opportunity, Coyle will be following Clacton’s progress with great interest and be in regular contact with boss Kieron Shelley and new assistant Mike Wallace.

“I spoke to Kieron straight away, as soon as I first heard from James,” he said.

“I’ve kept him informed and although he was disappointed I was leaving, he’s been very supportive.

“I’ve told him that if there’s anything I can do to help, he’s only got to ask.

“From my point of view, I feel very positive and felt I had a decent season in a team that struggled.

“I would have been happy to stay at Clacton.

“That’s what I was expecting and my plan was to build on what I achieved last season.

“Then this opportunity came up and, like I say, it was one I couldn’t turn down.

“I still love Clacton.

“It’s my hometown club and nothing will change in that respect.”