JAKE HOBBS lists West Ham, Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool among his former clubs – but now the flying winger is enjoying life at Hythe.
The 21-year-old, who hit his first Town hat-trick in the 4-3 defeat to Maidstone United, had a first-class football education but couldn't quite seal a contract with some of the Football League's big boys.
Hobbs left the Hammers – the team he'd grown up playing for – after not being offered a scholarship before moving up north to try his luck with Bolton.
He caught the eye of Blackpool while turning out against them for Bolton and duly signed a two-year scholarship after the game.
The footballing dream was a reality.
Hobbs said: "It was a blow when I didn't get offered a scholarship at West Ham – so I moved up north when I was 16.
"I went to Bolton and I was playing for them when Blackpool told me they were interested in taking me on a two-year scholarship. They offered it to me after we'd just played them and I signed it.
"It was a great experience. I'm not being big-headed but in all honesty I think Blackpool should have offered me a new deal. I was playing in the reserves and I was top scorer that season."
Simon Grayson was at the helm when Hobbs first joined but when he was sacked Tony Parkes was made caretaker manager. Ian Holloway was appointed in May 2009.
A new deal was not on the table so Hobbs ventured south to play for Welling.
Hobbs recalled: "I was playing up front on my own for them, I was 18 and I was scoring goals. Then Andy Ford (the then manager) left and Jamie Day came in and I wasn't in the side.
"I didn't really have a case to start because the strikers he was playing were scoring but when I did we won 7-1 and I scored twice and set up three. Then the next game I was left out. From there I went to Beckenham just to get playing again.
"I spoke to Maidstone before this season and manager, Jay Saunders said there's a lot of promotion pressure on them.
"I was coming back into a higher level of football and I wanted to start enjoying it.
"I came down to pre-season training with Hythe and Clive [Cook] and the gaffer told me where they wanted to take the club."
Hobbs believes the big difference this season, from last, is how competitive it is.
He said: "In this league you get more time on the ball and you're playing with better players."