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Posts Tagged ‘swindon town’

Ritchie Jones signs for Hartlepool

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.

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Lee Martin considering his options; Alumni on the move

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.”

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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.

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Jones to Swindon/mystery club, McCormack to Triestina?

Posted by nickogs20 on June 25, 2008

Ritchie Jones, copyright soccernetIt’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.

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