PHILL Bell admitted that his return to Ashington last week even caught him out by surprise.
Bell made the switch to Woodhorn Lane last Thursday in a swap deal which saw winger Chris Fawcett move in the opposite direction to link up with the Hillheads outfit.
Bell, 28, a part-time lecturer and Phd student, made his second debut in Saturday’s FA Carlsberg Vase win over Norton And Stockton Ancients at Woodhorn Lane and afterwards he said: “The move came out of the blue.
“It wasn’t something which I saw coming at all but now it’s done, I’m just looking forward to playing every week and for Ashington to have a successful season which we did last year.”
Reflecting on his first 90 minutes this season back in a black and white shirt, Bell, pictured right, added: “I felt a little bit rusty first half, but I tried to work hard in the second period and I did a little bit better – but I felt as a team we were excellent.
“Defensively, I thought we were magnificent and James Taylor, who played just in front of the back four who has never taken on that role before was outstanding.
“So overall it’s a positive start, and I’m delighted that we are in the hat for the next round of the Vase.”
Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton said: “We had been looking to bring in a striker for the last two or three weeks – even when Jamie Clarke was here.
“Nothing materialised and it’s been difficult.
“Even now, we are still trying to bring in another one or two players but it is tough.
“I spoke to Whitley Bay manager Ian Chandler who offered Phill Bell but he wanted Chris Fawcett. Chris has done alright for Ashington but it was an offer which we couldn’t turn down purely because we were going to get a centre forward”
Middleton said: “Phill had a great season for us last year scoring 16 goals; I never wanted him to leave in the summer and even when he did, it was on good terms which you should do in football because you are never sure what is around the corner.
“Phill is delighted he has rejoined us and over the moon to be playing centre forward. I was really looking forward to seeing Bell and Jonny Godsmark up front today; I like the idea of a towering striker alongside a little one just like the John Toshack-Kevin Keegan partnership which operated at Liverpool – and I was thrilled with what I saw today.”