By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC manager Ian Skinner has pulled off a major coup with the signing of former Blyth Spartans defender Nathan Buddle.

The Woodhorn Lane club report back for pre season training on Tuesday (June 20) and Buddle can’t wait: “I have fond memories from being at Ashington as a junior and I’ve seen how much the club have progressed,” he said, “They are going in the right direction and as a player that’s what you want – to be part of a club who are ambitious and definitely on the up. I’ve got friends at Ashington and was keeping an eye on things – and I was over the moon for them when they were promoted at the end of the last campaign.”

The 29 year old is delighted to make his return to the sport after an injury threatened to bring his career to a premature end last year. Buddle said: “I suffered a concussion injury but I’m delighted that I received the all clear and I’m genuinely desperate to get back onto a football pitch. We start training at Ashington next Tuesday and I’m absolutely raring to go.”

Manager Skinner said: “I previously worked with Nathan at Newcastle when he was a junior and I’m obviously delighted to have signed a player of his pedigree. We enquired about him really early in pre season but he needed some time to weight up all of his options. Momentum has been building over the past week and from Nathan’s point of view, it was an interest which he was keen to explore further. We were thrilled and over the moon when he decided that Ashington was going to be the best fit for him. He turned down a number of clubs from National League North and the Northern Premier League and even at the 11th hour just before I was due to meet him he received an offer from another team higher up the pyramid. However, Nathan stayed true to his word that he had given to myself that he was going to sign for Ashington and that is just testimony to the type of person and character he is.”

He continued: “Nathan suffered a career threatening injury last season and from his point of view, it was about the whole package – where he thought would be good to get back playing regular and enjoying his football again and also what would suit his work and family life balance. He’s obviously coming into a dressing room with a number of familiar faces and I think that contributed as well.”

He went on: “The signing of Nathan will help us to try and move the club forward and I look forward to working with him again. I think he will be a massive influence both on and off the pitch for us in terms of the leadership qualities he brings and the hunger and the desire to be successful in everything that he does which can only be good for the players we already have at the club.”