Forest Green fans’ favourite Reece Styche has jumped into the Football League with Wycombe Wanderers.
Styche,24, has joined the League Two outfit on loan until the end of the season and Rovers will receive an undisclosed fee as part of the deal.
He leaves the New Lawn arrives with an impressive goalscoring pedigree, having found the net 37 times in 77 starts since joining the Skrill Premier side in January 2010 from non-league minnows Chasetown after being spotted by Forest Green programme editor Terry Brumpton.
Capped at England C level, his 13 goals in 15 games for Chasetown earned him the move to Rovers, where he is third in their all-time list of Conference goalscorers.
Despite injury halting his progress over the past two seasons, Styche has still managed to find the target eight times in his last 12 starts.
He recently forced his way back into Rovers’ first XI, marking his only start of the campaign with a goal at Hyde last weekend.
The popular former plumber Styche, who had been at the Nailsworth club for almost four years, said: “It was always my aim to play in the Football League by the time I was 25, so thankfully that’s a goal I’ve achieved.”
“Playing football is all I’ve ever wanted to do and the injuries have done my head in.
“It’s just showing mental strength to get back out there and show what I know I can do.
“I’ve loved every minute at Forest Green and the gaffer and Dale have been superb in all this.
“It all happened very quickly. I was coming out of the cinema on Tuesday night with Bazzer (Anthony Barry) and Nors (James Norwood), and I got a call from my agent to tell me Wycombe were interested.”
Styche holds a special place in the affections of the fans at the New Lawn and the feelings are certainly reciprocated by the Birmigham-based striker.
He added: “The fans at Forest Green have been great and I am looking forward to coming back and watching a game when I can. I will miss everyone at the club, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
Styche follows the departures of strikers Matthew Barnes-Homer and Omar Koroma this month as boss Ady Pennock starts to break up the squad he inherited from David Hockaday.
Pennock said: “It’s a good deal for the club, which is important, but it’s good for Reece and his family as well.
“I don’t want to stand in anyone’s way of playing League football.
“ A great move for Reece and a really good deal for us.
“I wish him all the best, he has been great and in the little time we’ve had with him ,we’ve got really close to him.
“He’s so excited and obviously wanted to go there. He was a plumber not so long ago and now he’s going to be a footballer in the Football League.
“Fair play to him – he’s worked really hard and is a great character.”
Wycombe and former QPR caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth told wwfc.com: "I’ve been watching him for a while and I liked what I saw when we played them in a friendly a couple of years back.
"I know he’s had injuries but I’ve kept close tabs on him and I’m delighted we’ve been able to bring him here.
"He’s got a great goalscoring record, has quality on the ball, is good in the air, will compete and he never gives centre-backs an easy game. He’s got the all the attributes of an old fashioned number 9."