ONLY one day remains until Accrington Stanley kick off their 2010/11 npower League Two campaign against Aldershot Town at The Crown Ground, today we look at our nine summer signings.
To view the first edition of ‘It’s the final countdown’, please click here.
Dark clouds began to gather over The Crown Ground at the end of last season, as things in East Lancashire looked to have taken a turn for the worst.
After a promising season faided off towards the end and any hopes of a play-off spot were crushed, many bigger clubs started to take an interest in both our management team and our playing staff.
Robert Grant and Michael Symes had forged a partnership that would scare any League Two back four, as they scored goals for fun, but it was always going to be broken apart. And we all knew that. But even though we were prepared for it, it was still very disappointing news.
Grant made a big money move to npower Championship side Scunthorpe United, a level that really will put the youngster to the test, while Symes also made the step up, this time into League One with Bournemouth.
The dynamic duo were both out of contract with Stanley, meaning Symes was allowed to leave on a free transfer while Grant was subject to a Football Association tribunal due to his age – and eventually scooped the club up to £260,000.
Our back line also took a knock, with Darran Kempson opting to turn down a new one-year contract with the club and instead penned a deal with recently relegated Blue Square Premier side Grimsby Town, the club that our former goalkeeper Kenny Arthur also ended up at.
Vice Captain John Miles also flew the nest after u-turning on a new deal in East Lancashire. The former Macclesfield Town man had verbally agreed the contract extension with Stanley, before the Blue Square Premier’s version of Manchester City – Fleetwood Town, came wading in to snatch him away.
So with players leaving left right and centre, it was key that gaffer John Coleman got every thing just right in the summer transfer market and so far it seems to have gone relatively to plan.
There was a blow early on when the club was hit with a transfer embargo, which meant that The Reds couldn’t register any new players with the Football League until the club’s financial paper work had been handed in.
That was lifted and so the signings started to flow.
Nine new players have signed on the dotted line to date, so now it’s time to have a quick look at those who will be strutting their stuff at The Crown Ground next season.
Alex Cisak was the first to sign up, joining from npower Championship side Leicester City. The Polish born goalkeeper, has been capped at Under 20 level for Australia, as he is eligible through Australian family members.
Cisak, 21, failed to make any first team appearances at the Walkers Stadium and will take the number one shirt for the new season and provide competition for Ian Dunbavin.
Former Bradford City defender Jonathan Bateson signed a one-year contract with Stanley, after the Yorkshire men opted not to renew the 20-year-olds contract.
Bateson was one of a number of defenders on trial at the club throughout pre-season and was snapped up by John Coleman after impressing the gaffer.
The former Blackburn Rovers youth teamer, was red carded on his professional debut for Bradford City, as his almost snapped Nottingham Forest striker Nathan Tyson into two pieces in the closing minutes of a League Cup tie in 2009.
Defender Sean Hessey and midfielder Charlie Barnett, join the Reds from Macclesfield Town and Tranmere Rovers respectively. The pair have both agreed to 12 month deals at the Crown Ground.
Hessey, 31, made a total of 86 appearances over the last three seasons for Macclesfield Town and brings with him a wealth of Football League experience having played for Huddersfield, Blackpool and Chester City along with a five year spell with Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock.
21-year-old Barnett joins from Tranmere Rovers having previously played for Liverpool’s successful youth team alongside Stanley players Jimmy Ryan and Ray Putterill.
The midfielder had been on trial at Scottish First Division side Falkirk following his release from Tranmere, but opted not to move to Scotland despite impressing during a brief spell.
Next up was former loan star Craig Lindfield, who signed a permanent contract with the Reds following his release from Macclesfield Town at the end of last season.
The former Liverpool forward played 20 times for the Reds scoring two goals during the 2008-09 season and is well known to management pairing Coleman and Jimmy Bell.
Blackburn Rovers defender Michael Hall signed on a free-transfer at the beginning of summer after being told he had no future at Ewood Park.
Left back Hall featured regularly for Rovers’ Reserve side, but didn’t do enough to earn a new contract at Ewood Park at the end of last season. The youngster has penned a one-year-contract.
Ray Putterill has signed a six-month contract with the club after being released from Liverpool’s Youth Academy.
The 21-year-old has had an injury-ravaged spell at Liverpool, which saw him released in the summer despite the club describing him as a future star.
Two more to go, and those are the singings of Andy Parkinson and Rory Boulding.
Parkinson, 31, joins from non league side Gateshead and brings with him a wealth of Football League experience, following spells with Tranmere Rovers, Sheffield United, Grimsby Town and Notts County.
22-year-old Boulding also joins from Bradford City. The striker is yet to score a competitive first team goal for any club during his 38 appearances.
The Sheffield born striker started his career at Mansfield Town before loan spells with Ilkeston Town and Hucknall Town.
Only just realised how much I have actually written. God knows if it makes sense! Been at it a while so I might just be babbling towards the end, for which I apologise.
The season is almost back and the excitement grows.
COME ON STANLEY!