Last Saturday saw Dartford host Dulwich Hamlet at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. On loan striker, Harvey Bradbury, featured in our matchday programme that day. For those who missed that feature, here is the full article:

Harvey Bradbury arrived from Dorchester Town a few weeks ago, and is set to use his loan term at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park to help the Darts get promotion to the National League.

And the 24-year-old striker couldn’t have made a better impact if he tried, coming on as a late substitute to score an 82nd minute goal in the 3-1 triumph over Farnborough! “I was relieved more than anything to be honest. Sometimes you can go to a club and not score for five-six games, as it takes a while to settle in. I’ve found that I’ve settling really quickly with the lads and, hopefully, the goal will help me with confidence on the pitch to go and get more (goals).”

Speaking to Harvey via WhatsApp a couple of days after being set up by Luke Coulson for that debut goal, it’s clear that the striker is in good spirits, “I’m very good thanks and am glad to be here at Dartford for the remainder of the season!”

Having played for Alan Dowson before, Harvey knows what to expect from the man at the helm of the Darts, and he’s under no illusions as to what will be expected of him, “…Dowse and I have a good relationship and getting this football club up into the National is obviously the target. My aim is to try to score as many goals as possible and help get the team over the line.”

Having mentioned that he’s played for Alan Dowson before, it’s the perfect opportunity to delve into where Harvey has come from and where his journey is taking him. And, what’s surprising is the number of football clubs he’s represented… especially taking into account that he’s still only 24!

“HaHaHaHa, yeah…I’ve been at plenty of clubs for someone of my age! I was a professional for four years, where I played at Watford, Oxford United, and Millwall. I then went out on loan to Morecambe, which was a hell of a journey! I’ve since found myself in the Non-League and I’m really enjoying it at the moment.”

As well as those aforementioned clubs, Harvey has also worn the colours of Portsmouth (at U18 and U21 levels), Havant & Waterlooville, St Albans City, Hungerford Town, Oxford City, Welling United, Gosport Borough, and Dorchester Town. And, of course, he now wears the colours of Dartford until the end of the season at least, but who knows what the future holds in store for him.

His journey in the beautiful game all began in the muddy fields of Sunday League football… “I only signed for Portsmouth at the age of sixteen. Before that, I was playing in the Sunday league with my mates, just having a laugh really.”

However, that move to Portsmouth then opened the door to The Hornets where a young Harvey began to realise that he might have a big chance of a career within the sport. And, even though it hasn’t quite worked out yet, time is certainly on his side. Afterall, just look at the likes of Jamie Vardy. Yet, it’s not something that is really on Harvey’s mind at the moment…

“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it yet. I’m just taking it game by game and see what happens… The short-term dream would, of course, be to score the goal that sends the Darts into the National League! As far as the long-term’s concerned, the goal is to play at the highest level possible.”

Harvey’s future path seemed to have already been written for him before he was even able to walk, “…Yeah, my Dad is ex-footballer Lee Bradbury, so I’ve grown up around the sport my entire life. All I’ve ever wanted to do is to be involved in football as much as possible.”

It’s obvious that Dad is a huge inspiration for young Harvey, both on and off the pitch… “Yes, he’s been through a lot of the challenges a footballer has to go through. So, if I need advice, I always speak to him.”

But what about outside of the beautiful game? Does Harvey have a life beyond football? “No! Football is my life really! I coach Eastleigh FC’s U18s during the day. They’re a challenging bunch, but a good bunch too… So, it really is non-stop football for me!”

Harvey actually lives in Portsmouth, so has a lot of travelling to do, especially on game days. His typical day sees him arriving at Eastleigh for 9am, where he trains the youth team until around 12-1pm. After that, he’ll go to the gym or work through his own training session and/or make the long trip to Kent to join his teammates for training here at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.

Yet, he does make time for hobbies as well… “My hobbies are mainly darts and fishing. My Grandad sometimes picks me up on his boat (he lives on the Isle of Wight) and we’ll go out fishing for the day. It’s really peaceful and enjoyable.”

However, it soon becomes apparent that this young man, who always seems to step onto the pitch with his left foot first, has another football-related hobby, “…funnily enough, I was already doing a Football Manager game with Dartford before I even knew I’d be signing… HaHaHaHa!”

After we’d had a good laugh about that and the fact that he’s not doing very well with his position as the Dartford boss on Football Manager, unlike your’s truly who has got the side into the National League (I also refused to divulge my tactics!), our conversation comes to an end. However, Harvey does have a few final words for the Dartford faithful…

“Thank you all for the warm welcome on my debut, it was greatly appreciated. Keep supporting me and the lads and, hopefully, we can repay you at the end of the season. Up the Darts!”

By Chris Palmer