Posted by nickogs20 on July 4, 2008
Hearts, Barnsley, Tranmere Rovers, Swindon, Port Vale… all have appeared on the verge of securing Ritchie Jones’ signature over the last week or so following his release by United, but seemingly from nowhere it’s Hartlepool United who have snuck in under the radar and snapped up the 22 year-old.
Jones has been in advanced talks with Swindon and even underwent medicals at Hearts and Port Vale over the last couple of days but the midfielder has opted to sign for the North-East club, who finished last season 15th in League One. That decision, or rather the failure of the player and his agent to keep the other interested parties fully appraised of the situation, has irked Swindon boss Maurice Malpas and his Port Vale counterpart Lee Sinnott, the latter telling his club’s official website:
“On Thursday morning when we got in touch with him we were informed he would be coming to sign the forms yesterday afternoon at 4.00pm.
“Things changed again and we were expecting him to come to the club this afternoon at 4.00pm, but then at 3.15 we found out he wouldn’t be coming and he had signed for Hartlepool.
“These things happen in football, but perhaps when he looks back on things he will realise he could have kept us in the loop.
“We have been trying to contact him all day yesterday and again today. Perhaps people will be able to draw their own conclusions on that.
All that will be of little consequence to Hartlepool manager Danny Wilson, who has described the signing as ‘a feather in our cap’ on the Monkey Hangers’ official site:
“Potentially we have an excellent player on our books – he has a fantastic pedigree in terms of upbringing. Where better to start out from the age of 9 than Manchester United?
“He has some very good habits so that’s one thing we won’t have to work on.
“We’ve brought another potentially very good player in and there now becomes some intense competition in that area and that is what we want.
“Ritchie has high fitness levels, he can get goals and he is creative but as I have said before, he also has a big test in front of him to get into the team and stay there.”
Good luck to Ritchie at Victoria Park.
Posted in Alumni, Sports | Tagged: danny wilson, hartlepool, hearts, lee sinnott, manchester united, maurice malpas, port vale, ritchie jones, swindon town, victoria park | Leave a Comment »
Posted by nickogs20 on July 4, 2008
Just a couple of days after his Old Trafford contract expired, Sean Evans has landed himself a trial at Scottish Premier League side Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Evans will spend a week with the Northern Scotland club, with ICT boss Craig Brewster saying “the plan is to have a look at the boy for a week and, at the same time, he can see what we are all about up here”.
ICT had Evans’ erstwhile team-mate Michael Barnes (also now a free agent) on trial last season and their interest in Evans stems from that, with the 20 year-old left-winger being recommended by (amongst others) Sir Alex Ferguson as someone who has what it takes to make the grade as a professional footballer. If Evans does earn himself a contract with Caley Thistle it is possible he will come up against another former team-mate and recent departure from United in the SPL this season – Ritchie Jones has this week had a medical at Hearts and looks set to sign for the Tynecastle outfit in the next couple of days. Meanwhile another of the released seven, Michael Lea, is expected to turn his informal fitness work with Scunthorpe United into an official trial period.
Posted in Alumni | Tagged: craig brewster, hearts, inverness caledonian thistle, ritchie jones, sean evans, sir alex ferguson | Leave a Comment »
Posted by nickogs20 on July 1, 2008
With everyone due back at Carrington for the start of pre-season in the next couple of days, one of the first players to be knocking on the manager’s door will be winger Lee Martin. Martin has effectively spent the last two and a half years out on loan, enjoying spells at Antwerp, Rangers, Stoke City, Plymouth and Sheffield United in that period, and at 21 years old the youngster from Taunton will be keen to find out how he fits into the manager’s plans – if at all.
Martin featured in just nine games for the Bramall Lane club in the second half of last season before succumbing to a knee ligament injury (injuries also curtailed or disrupted his spells at Rangers and Plymouth), but the Yorkshire club’s rumoured interest in recruiting the player on a permanent basis suggests he did enough to impress Blades boss Kevin Blackwell. Should SAF decree that Lee’s future lies away from Old Trafford and were Sheffield United to come in with an offer, would the interest be reciprocated? An interview with the Yorkshire Daily Post would suggest so:
“I’m still at United and it’s a matter of going back on the first of July and speaking to the gaffer. It’s all up in the air and nothing has been said yet. It’s a bit weird and just a waiting game at the minute. I enjoyed my time at Sheffield United and would definitely go back if an offer came in. But it’s out of my hands.”
They definitely have a great chance (of achieving promotion to the Premier League). I think they have got one of the strongest squads in the Championship and with the gaffer, Kevin Blackwell, they’ve got a really talented manager. It’s a massive club which belongs in the Premiership. They know they have to get there next season and after such a strong finish under Kevin they will fancy their chances.”
Elsewhere, with the transfer window now officially open, a number of former United academy players are on the move. Former Reserves skipper David Jones is the most high-profile, leaving relegated Derby County to join up with former reserves team-mate Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at Wolves in a deal worth £1.2m. Goalkeeper Ben Williams has left Crewe to join Carlisle United (This interview with Radio Cumbria includes some interesting accounts of his time at United), while forward Eddie Johnson has rejoined Crewe on trial after being released by Bradford.
Meanwhile a more recent academy graduate seemingly has clubs fighting to secure his services. Ritchie Jones’ contract with United officially expired yesterday and, as reported here last week, Swindon have offered him the chance to spend pre-season with them. The Wiltshire side face competition for the midfielder’s signing though, with Burnley, Tranmere Rovers and Hearts of the SPL all showing interest.
Posted in Alumni, Reserve News, Sports | Tagged: antwerp, ben williams, bradford, burnley, carlisle, crewe, david jones, derby county, eddie johnson, hearts, kevin blackwell, lee martin, manchester united, plymouth argyle, rangers, ritchie jones, sheffield united, sir alex ferguson, stoke city, swindon town, sylvan ebanks-blake, tranmere rovers, wolves | Leave a Comment »
Posted by nickogs20 on June 27, 2008
United have this afternoon confirmed what we pretty much knew already – a septet of youngsters will be released when their contracts expire on Monday. Although the identity of these players have been known for a while, for the record they are defenders Michael Lea and Kieran Lee, midfielders Ritchie Jones and Conor McCormack, wingers Séan Evans and Michael Barnes, and forward Chris Fagan.
It has been known since early 2008 that Lea, Evans, Barnes and Fagan wouldn’t be offered new contracts this summer, and the quartet have spent a lot of time since then on trial at other clubs. Jones’ contract was also known to be expiring and it was anticipated he would move on, although this hadn’t been confirmed. News of McCormack’s release came in April (initially via United.no) and was confirmed by the player himself in interviews around the time of the Champions League Final, while Kieran Lee’s free transfer to Oldham Athletic – perhaps the biggest surprise of the seven – was announced at around the same time.
Best of luck to all seven in their future careers.
Posted in Academy News, Reserve News | Tagged: chris fagan, conor mccormack, kieran lee, manchester united, manutd.com, michael barnes, michael lea, oldham athletic, released, ritchie jones, sean evans | Leave a Comment »
Posted by nickogs20 on June 25, 2008
It’s always good to see released players find new clubs to continue their career with, and reports today indicate a couple of those being let go this summer are on the verge of doing so.
The Swindon Advertiser are reporting that an unnamed United youngster has been invited to join Swindon Town for pre-season training, effectively on trial. The player may be unnamed but it’s not exactly difficult to work out who it is from the ‘clues’ the newspaper gives – the player is 21 years old, plays right or central midfield and is out of contract at Old Trafford, and “has made a handful of appearances for United in cup competitions, as well as gaining experience from two loan spells in the Championship in 2006/07, and time in League One last season”. Step forward Ritchie Jones. Jones hasn’t officially been released but he is out of contract this summer and it seems unlikely United will offer him a new one. He of course spent time on loan at Championship sides Colchester and Barnsley in 06/07 and League One Yeovil last season.
Ritchie is already thought to have recieved a contract offer from an unnamed league club, so whether he takes Swindon boss Maurice Malpas up on this offer will likely depend on the relative standing of the mystery club compared to the Wiltshire side. It would seem to be something of a risk for the midfielder to turn down a solid contract offer to go on trial somewhere else with no guarantee of a permanent deal, but it may be that the existing offer is from a club in League Two – Swindon are of course in League One and Ritchie may have enough confidence in his ability to play at a relatively higher level to take that risk.
Meanwhile, the Irish Daily Star say midfielder Conor McCormack is on the verge of signing a contract with Italian Serie B side Triestina. The 18 year old was released in April after two seasons in the academy, and went on trial to the club from the north-east of Italy in May, scoring and impressing. Conor and 17 year old Michael Collins, released by Liverpool recently, are apparently “putting the finishing touches to contracts” this week.
Posted in Academy News, Reserve News, Sports | Tagged: conor mccormack, liverpool, manchester united, maurice malpas, michael collins, ritchie jones, swindon town, triestina | Leave a Comment »
Posted by nickogs20 on June 7, 2008
For most United fans, all the focus now and over the next couple of months will understandably be on players coming in (or potentially coming in), but spare a thought for those leaving Old Trafford – in particular those leaving to an uncertain future. Several players are set to be released or not have their contracts renewed this summer, and while United do everything they can to ensure these players find another club, there are essentially only so many professional contracts up for grabs each year and there are an awful lots of players competing for them.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Academy News, Reserve News | Tagged: aaron burns, blackpool, boston united, burnley, cheltenham town, chris fagan, conor mccormack, corby town, daniel rose, falkirk, fc united, floribert n'galula, glenn hoddle, inverness caledonian thistle, jamie mullan, lee crockett, manchester united, michael barnes, michael lea, northwich victoria, oxford united, phil marsh, plymouth argyle, randers, ritchie jones, rochdale, sean evans, triestina, west bromwich albion, yeovil town | Leave a Comment »
Posted by nickogs20 on April 22, 2008
United made it five from five in this season’s MSC group stage at Boundary Park, but were made to work for their win by a stubborn Oldham side who were only finally killed off by a late Ritchie Jones penalty. Chris Eagles had given United the lead on 34 minutes and the Reds spurned a number of chances to finish the game off before Tom Cleverley was felled in the Latics’ area in injury time and Jones duly converted.
Gray – Chester – Cathcart – Cleverley
Eagles – Jones – Possebon – Hewson – S. Evans
Subs: Bryan (for Welbeck 76), Fagan (for S. Evans 82), C. Evans, Galbraith.
Scorers: Eagles 34, Jones (pen) 90
You can read a full (albeit Oldham-slanted) report on the match here (i’ll have a link to the manutd.com match report as soon as it’s published), while MUTV will be showing the match in its entirety at 6pm tomorrow.
United are next in action on Thursday night when they face Bolton in a Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final at Leyland – more on that in the next couple of days. Bolton may also be the opposition in the final of the Manchester Senior Cup, but both they and Manchester City still have group fixtures to fulfil this month before the full details of that final can be confirmed.
Posted in Reserve Match Report | Tagged: boundary park, chris eagles, manchester senior cup, manchester united, oldham athletic, reserves, ritchie jones | Leave a Comment »