By Brian Bennett | Photo: Ian Brodie

Ashington FC signed their number one priority target last week according to joint head coach Richie Hill when Connor Thomson put pen to paper on a contract at Woodhorn Lane.

Last season the striker spent the best part of six months with the Colliers on loan from neighbours Morpeth Town and not only made an immediate impact scoring a brace on his debut in the 4-0 win at Winterton Rangers but also endeared himself to the club’s supporters.

“When Ashington came in to take me on loan last season, I wanted to take that chance straight away,” he added, “I just wanted to get out and play some games and see what happened but I fell in love with the club and it helped me massively. I played well; I did well for the team and scored goals – which is exactly what you want to do when you are a striker. I also made a few assists and contributed to the team in any way I could.” The 28 year old netted17 goals in his spell – which saw him lift the trophy for the top goalscoring award at the end of season presentations.

Thomson’s contract with the Highwaymen came to an end recently and he said it was a ‘no brainer’ to sign on a permanent basis for the Colliers: “I’m buzzing,” he said, “When the club announced that Andy (Coyles) and Richie (Hill) were staying on as the gaffers it was a big factor for me because of how well I get on with them as well as the lads at the club. As soon as Andy and Richie approached me about a contract it was a no brainer because I wanted to stay and I enjoy playing here. The atmosphere is always good especially at this level; the club have got an excellent fan base and I can’t wait for the new season to start.”

Whilst Newcastle-born Thomson finished top of the pile in the goal scoring charts, his striking partner Wilson Kneeshaw finished one behind – the pair plundering 33 goals between them.

Kneeshaw announced his commitment to the club last week and Thomson added: “The news about Wilson staying played a big part too because it’s rare to gel with someone so well and Wilson and I get on just as well off the pitch as we do on it. We know we have got the connection to kick on again this season and to score even more goals.”

Joint head coach Richie Hill said: “We’re over the moon to get the deal done. When Andy and myself got the job, the first thing we did was to look at the current squad as to who we wanted to keep as well as players who we wanted to bring to the club – and Connor was right up there as our number one priority. When he came to us last year, he fitted into the changing room so well. It was also at a time when we were struggling for results and he rewarded us with some much needed goals. Connor had to be our chief target and to get him over the line – knowing full well that there were lots of other clubs interested in him and actually talking to him – is a massive coup for the club and consequently we’re absolutely delighted. He was a popular figure not just in the changing room but also with the management team and the supporters so I’m hoping he’ll hit the ground running at the beginning of the new campaign and score those goals which we need.”