ASHTON Athletic’s new management team have made their first signing with exciting forward Ryan Small putting pen to paper.
Small was previously with Wigan Robin Park and has turned down offers from two Evo-Stik clubs and one North West Counties Premier club to return to the ground where he started his career.
Small played for Ashton from the age of 14 to 19 before enjoying eight years at Wigan Robin Park.
The striker is regarded as one of the best players in the league and picked up many man of the match performances in the 2012-13 season.
Over the years Small has had brief spells at AFC Telford and Chorley and had numerous offers from other clubs.
Manager Jay Foulds said: “As soon as we got the job the main aim was to get Small to the club.
“We were team mates at Wigan Robin Park FC and have a good relationship.
“But considering the offers he had received during the close season we were worried that we wouldn’t be able to compete. After taking time to consider his future and listening to the direction we want to take the club, we were ecstatic to hear he was willing to join us and certainly shares our ambition to push the club forward.
“To convince a player of Ryan’s ability to sign for Ashton Athletic shows you don’t need big money – ambition and togetherness mean a lot to some players and Ryan certainly agrees with our thoughts and ideas.”
The new manager hopes the signing of Small will convince other players the club is going in the right direction this season and have a desire to improve.
Foulds continued: “Over the next few weeks we will be looking to tie more players up so they can concentrate on Ashton Athletic FC.”
Ashton first team manager Dougie Pitts added: “I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ryan mature as a person and a player and it was crucial we got him down to the club.
“He adds a great personality to the dressing room and is exactly who we want.”