Beard joins the club from Sussex rivals Eastbourne Borough where he enjoyed a successful loan spell in the early part of last season, before making a permanent move later in December.

The versatile defender operates mainly as a left-back but has been known to play across the back line at his previous clubs. He becomes Chris Agutter’s first signing as Worthing boss having joined the club from Hastings earlier this month.

“Beardy brings more league-winning experience to the group which will be key in the challenge ahead,” said Agutter.

“Sam will also add even more energy, physicality and quality to the team as well as giving us more attacking balance with his left side. Above all else, Beardy is honest, hardworking and fully committed – he’s a proper man who will give everything to our cause.”

The defender was a key part of Eastbourne’s squad last year as they battled successfully against the drop. He made 27 league appearances for The Sports, scoring two goals, including a screamer against Weston-super-Mare (see below).

“I’m buzzing to have signed here,” said Beard.

“I know a few of the boys here and I’ve played against them over the years and they’ve always played great football and have got a great fanbase so I’m really excited.”

Beard made the switch to Eastbourne from Barnet where he was a virtual ever-present in the 2022/23 season as they finished in the National League play-off places, making 42 appearances to take his tally to 78 across all competitions the Bees.

Before joining Barnet in the summer of 2021, Beard played a pivotal role in Dorking Wanderers’ rise through the non-league pyramid, winning two promotions in his five seasons at Meadowbank.

He also helped them into the National League South play-offs during the 2019/20 season, before being a part of the side that was top of the league in the 2020/21 campaign before it was declared null and void.

“Playing in a team that is up there and fighting for promotion is massive,” Beard continued.

“You enjoy it so much more as a player and that’s what it’s about. Winning promotions, trophies, that’s what you remember, so coming here and being a part of a team that’s already been in the play-offs twice over the last two seasons is massive and I’m just hoping that I can help get them out of this league and get promoted!”