By Brian Bennett

Ashington FC unveiled their first ‘new’ addition of the summer on Saturday with Andrew Cartwright making a return to Woodhorn Lane.

The defender was a regular for the club – as well as establishing himself as a fans favourite – in the season before last which saw the Colliers clinch promotion to the Northern Premier League East Division.

However Cartwright – who runs his own football coaching business – was unable to commit to the extra travelling involved in the Northern Premier League. He joined Ebac Northern League first division side Whitley Bay but also signed on a dual registration with Ashington.

On Saturday, the club announced that Cartwright had committed to next season and the player said: “I’m happy to be back. I played a couple of games for Ashington last season and enjoyed them so I thought ‘let’s give the travelling a go’ and take things from there. I’ll have to be a bit more flexible with work but I think that’s what you’ve got to do to play at a better level. It will be a brand new experience for me because I’ve never played at step four before – when I was with Blyth Spartans in the Conference North League the level was higher again.”

Newcastle-born Cartwright continued: “I met Andy (Coyles), Richie (Hill) and Gaz (Ormston) for a chat. I know the lads at the club and there are also good people involved which is great. I’ve also got a lot to look forward to in what is going to be a big year. I’m getting married to my fiancée Ruth and it’s also my 30th birthday so everything should be onwards and upwards.”

Ashington FC head coach Andy Coyles is delighted to have Cartwright on board and said: “I believe Andrew is one of the best right backs in the North East on the non-league circuit. It was a massive blow for us when he decided to leave us due to his football coaching business but he’s now able to be successful on a business front and also play football at this level. He wants to play football at a good level and he feels this is the right time to commit to step four.”

He continued: “Andrew obviously enjoyed his time with us the season before last with the promotion success and we had him on a dual registration last year. Even though he only played for us on a couple of occasions, he was phenomenal and he was our number one choice for full back. Consequently we were thrilled to bits when he agreed to come back to us and we genuinely believe that he will be a huge part of what we are looking to achieve next season. He’s a great lad to have around the place – not just on the pitch but in the changing room as well – and I’m sure he will prove his worth for sure.”