Harriers' defender Martin Riley paid his own fee to join Cheltenham Town FC
Martin Riley was so desperate to join Cheltenham Town that he paid his own transfer fee to Kidderminster Harriers.
The central defender signed a one-year deal with the Robins last Saturday and made his debut in the second half of that afternoon's 5-0 friendly win over Gloucester City.
Because he is under 24, Riley was unable to leave Kidderminster as a free agent and Cheltenham could not afford to pay a fee.
But the 22-year-old had his heart set on a move to npower League Two Cheltenham and the chance to link up with his former manager at Aggborough, Mark Yates.
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"I had to stump up some of my own cash to come and play for Cheltenham and that's how much I want to be here and be back in the Football league," Riley said.
"I had two good years at Kiddy and it's a great club, but I always felt I had to make the step up as soon as I could and I have finally got my wish."
England 'C' international Riley made 85 appearances for Harriers, scoring four goals, and he is clearly relishing the chance to work under Yates for a second time.
"Mark Yates is a top bloke, a great manager, and I really seemed to play well under him and so did Kiddy, so I hope I can re-enact that here at Cheltenham," he said.
"He is a manager you want to win for and in the dressing room at Kiddy all the lads got on well and the team spirit was brilliant."
Riley's introduction to life as a Cheltenham player on Saturday was cut short after half an hour as he was forced off the field after a bang to the mouth cut his lip and pushed back several of his front teeth.
He had three stitches in his upper lip and is due at the dentist this week to repair the damage.
"It was a bittersweet debut, because I was gutted to have to come off and I couldn't even talk properly after the game because of my teeth being pushed back," he said.
"But I was buzzing to finally be at Cheltenham and I want to knuckle down now and have a good season in League Two."
Riley will travel to South Wales with the rest of the Cheltenham squad tomorrow for three days of training and team bonding at the University of Swansea ahead of Saturday's friendly against Championship club Swansea.
■ Saturday's game between the Robins and the Swans at the Liberty Stadium is all-ticket for home and away supporters.
It is the only home friendly being played by the Swans and a large crowd is expected.
Tickets, costing £7 for adults and £1 for under-16s, can be purchased from the Cheltenham Town ticket office until 4pm on Friday.