Non-league stars playing during coronavirus crisis include man with 39 clubs, Hayles aged 47, and Stoke icon Fuller – The Sun

THE Premier League might be on a coronavirus lockdown until April 3, but that hasn't stopped these non-league heroes from strutting their stuff on the pitch.

The non-league game saw a 90 percent rise in attendance figures this weekend – with many fans deciding to go and watch their local teams.


And those numbers could rise the longer we're without top flight and EFL games to see.

These seven footballers, who you may remember from their time in the top flight, are all staples of the non-league game fans cheer on.

From an ex Fulham star who turns 48 in a month to a Wolves legend famed for his incredible physique, these boys just refuse to hang up their boots.

And there's even an honourable mention for England's biggest journeyman, now at his 39th club.

BARRY HAYLES

Last season, when he was turning out for Windsor FC, the former Craven Cottage hero told SunSport he wasn't done yet and wanted to continue to play till he was 50.

And he hasn't gone back on that promise, joining Isthmian League Premier Division side Merstham this season as assistant coach/player.

Hayles, 47, made his debut in a 4-0 win at Wingate & Finchley, coming on as a sub.

All in all, he has managed 11 games this season, mostly from the bench, and scored once.

"I've always said I would've retired a long time ago, but the phone's kept ringing and people have been asking if I could play just one more season," he told us.


JAMIE CURETON

The former Norwich City striker, 44, has carved out quite a career in non-league, representing several clubs including the likes of Farnborough, St Albans City, and Eastleigh.

This season he made his first foray into coaching, taking on the player manager role for Bishop's Stortford in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

Juggling his coaching responsibilities with a role as the club's central striker, he scored 18 goals in all competitions before he left his post to join Hornchurch last month.

And he's already off the mark with one in three for the Mighty Urchins, who are back in action next weekend against Worthing.


RICARDO FULLER

Now 40, former Jamaican international Fuller was a hero at Stoke City – banging in 50 goals in 208 games from 2006-12.

But now it's the fans of Nantwich Town who are cheering the 6ft 3in centre forward on.

He recently found the net away at Radcliffe FC in a 2-2 draw, his second goal of the season in 12 games.

Their tough fixture away at Matlock Town was postponed over the weekend, when a Town player fell ill to the coronavirus.

However, they are back in action Tuesday evening against Basford United.

GEORGE ELOKOBI

'Big George' was famed at Wolves for being the most hench player during his six-years with the club.

Today, aged only 34, the muscular defender is turning out for Maidstone United in the National League South, where he has been since 2019.

This weekend, Elokobi returned to the first team after injury for the trip to Eastbourne Borough.

However, he couldn't stop his side getting convincingly beaten 3-0.

You can bet, though, the opposition didn't taunt him for it.



JEFFERSON LOUIS

Over the weekend, St Albans City managed to sneak a 1-0 win away at Braintree Town.

On the bench, was Louis – who is currently the biggest journeyman in English football.

The 41-year-old striker has played for 39 different clubs and has been transferred an astonishing 43 times during a 20-year career.

Louis has appeared five times this season for St Albans City, since joining them after Christmas, finding the net twice.

Earlier in the season he began the campaign with his 38th club, Hampton and Richmond Borough. Who will be his 4oth club?


JON STEAD

Harrogate Town will be back in action on Saturday, when they host Notts County in the first of two legs to decide who reaches the FA Trophy final.

Spearheading their attack will be former England Under-21 centre forward Stead, now 36, and at his 12th club.

And despite his creaking legs, the goals haven't deserted the Huddersfield born target man, who has seven in 17 games for the Sulphurites.

Sadly, Harrogate Town missed out on the weekend's action because of club employees being put in strict isolation due to the coronavirus.

LEROY LITA

Ex Bristol City, Reading and Middlesbrough striker Lita is 35 and plying his trade for Chelmsford City, where he has one goal in 11 games.

It's a far-cry from his days in the Championship, where he banged in goals for fun.

But, it appears Lita is having fun, having shelved an initial plan to retire from the game in 2019.

Over the weekend, he was powerless as his side succumbed to a 3-0 defeat away at Dartford.

Lita also had the indignity of being hooked off after 46 minutes.

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