By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Wilson Kneeshaw became the fourth player in a week to commit his immediate future to Ashington Football Club.

The striker – who won the Management Player of the Year plus the Goal of the season trophy at the awards ceremony recently – netted 16 times last term, finishing only one behind leading marksman Connor Thomson.

However it was a remarkable turnaround for the player who only recently celebrated his 30th birthday. Kneeshaw had fallen out of love with football before Colliers coach Richie Hill persuaded him to sign for Ashington – and the rest is history: “Richie brought me to the club and I had that rapport with him – then I got to know Andy Coyles,” said the Darlington-born forward, “As soon as I knew Andy and Richie were taking over the job from Ian Skinner, I told them if they wanted me, I’d be willing to sign. They wanted me – so I was delighted.”

Kneeshaw was quick to point out that the supporters at the Woodhorn Lane based club also played a ‘big part’ in his decision: “Last season we had our ups and downs – but it’s completely different when you are enjoying your football,” he added, “It was all the people around the club at Ashington that really injected a little bit of fire and competitive spirit back into my football so I was more than happy to dedicate another season – if not longer – to the football club. The fans have made me feel welcome from day one and they have played such a big part in me wanting to stay. I’m really excited for next season and hopefully I can give the team a good push.”

Kneeshaw also spoke highly about previous manager Ian Skinner who stepped down at the end of the last campaign: “What Ian has done in the last five years has been amazing – and he has really driven the team on,” he said.

Ashington FC joint head coach Andy Coyles said: “Wilson was one of those players we knew wanted to stay but the supporters have got to take some credit with this one because they have made him feel a massive part of the football club. He’s a huge part of the changing room – and he’s going to be a huge part of what we are looking to achieve this year.”