SPONSORED BY: RAY HANCOCK
Purnell is a talented goalkeeper who has graduated through the club’s Academy, climbing from the youth ranks to assert himself as an indispensable foundation of the first team squad.
At a young age, the shot stopper represented North Somerset Schools and Plymouth Argyle Juniors prior to joining Weston where he was the first choice for Somerset County Under 18s. He was also selected for the English Colleges side followed by a call-up to the British Colleges side.
While finding his feet as he came through the U18 setup, Purnell gained experience at Western (Toolstation) league level with Biddestone, Odd Down and Weston St. Johns. He was also an “ever present” in the Weston Youth side that won the Premier Division Somerset Floodlight Youth League 2008/09.
While still at a young age, he represented Dawlish Town in the Western League Premier Division, putting in some impressive performances during the 2009-2010 season, while still being on Weston’s books, before joining Dawlish permanently in the summer of 2010.
Towards the end of the 2010 calendar year, Purnell joined Barnstaple Town of the Western League Premier Division and appeared more than 50 times for the club, even being appointed captain from the start of the 2011-2012 season.
In February 2012, Purnell joined Bridgwater Town, then of the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One South & West, becoming the regular No.1 for the Somerset side.
In the summer of 2013, Purnell then returned to the Seagulls after leaving back in 2010, and established himself as an important cog for the Seagulls, even stepping up to be an assistant caretaker manager to Mark McKeever in the wake of Marc McGregor’s departure in March 2019.
Recognised with an England C call-up in 2014, Purnell has established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in non-league football. His consistency and loyalty have earned him fan favourite status.
Purnell is set to head into his seventh full season at The Optima Stadium since returning in 2013.