WHITEHAWK are celebrating a summer scoop after securing the services of a former Albion stalwart.

Adam El-Abd made more than 300 appearances for the Seagulls in 11 years but will be turning out at the TerraPura Ground next season.

The 35-year-old has joined the club as player-assistant manager after being released by relegated League Two outfit Stevenage.

He will be manager Jude Macdonald’s second in command as the Hawks look to push for promotion from the Isthmian League South East Division - the eighth tier of English football.

El-Abd worked with the club’s under 18s side last season while completing his UEFA A coaching licence, and the former Egypt international is now keen to impress in his hometown.

The Argus:

The defender said: “I had offers from elsewhere, but I want to put something back into Brighton football and the local community, as well as having a chance to develop my coaching skills.

“Whitehawk are building a very good squad and I am looking forward to working with Jude Macdonald and his backroom staff.”

Club chairman Andy Schofield said he was “delighted” to welcome the experienced El-Abd to Whitehawk.

He said: “Everyone who saw him play for the Albion knows his complete commitment.

“He’s always looked after himself so will be playing every week, as well as working with the squad on the training ground.

The Argus:

“Having someone of his calibre around the club will give everyone a lift.”

El-Abd replaces JP Kissock as player-assistant manager after the latter was not able to commit to the weekly travelling to and from Liverpool that the role required.

Hawks manager Jude Macdonald said: “We are all gutted to see JP leave, but bringing in Adam El-Abd will certainly enable us to carry on the good work from last season.”.

The manager also paid tribute to his former second in command.

He said: “We couldn’t have asked for a harder-working assistant manager and we are thankful for all his efforts whilst at the club.

“After moving back to Liverpool during lockdown, his work circumstances meant he couldn’t give 100 per cent to the club. He didn’t want to do the role without giving it everything which says it all about his character.”

The Argus:

El-Abd began his career with Albion in 2003, netting five times in more than 300 first-team appearances before leaving the club in 2014.

From there he moved to Bristol City, with loan spells at Bury, Swindon Town and Gillingham during more than two years with the club. A short spell with Shrewsbury Town came next, followed by two years at Wycombe Wanderers between 2017 and 2019. It was at this time that he first became involved in coaching at Whitehawk, taking some sessions with the Hawks’ under-18s on his way to a UEFA A Licence.

And he quickly developed a taste for it.

Speaking to The Argus in June last year, he said: “It seems like a natural progression for me. My passion is football.

“You can’t beat playing and that has been a big part of my life since 16. I don’t want to give that up. There is the potential to become a coach after my playing days are over. That could be a new career – or as a manager.

The Argus:

“I still feel I have got another three or four years left to play. But I wanted to make sure I was qualified to go on to work with an academy or an under-23s or something more senior at some stage.”

El-Abd is likely to be a regular on the Hawks team sheet next season, previously having stated that he wants to continue playing “as long as I can”.

He said: “I love playing. I love the buzz. I love that feeling when you win. I love it when you wake up on a Sunday and your body hurts and you feel like you have achieved something. I like the routine of being a professional footballer. It’s a world I want to stay in.”