EX-NEWCASTLE United reserve defender Matthew Grieve made his debut for his home town club on Friday evening - against his former club.
Ashington CFC manager Gary Middleton pulled off a major coup in the transfer market with the signing of Grieve.
Ashington-born Grieve, 20, who was released by Newcastle United at the end of the last campaign, put pen to paper on the Tuesday night before taking part in Friday’s pre-season game.
The Colliers boss said: “This is a massive coup for us and I’m thrilled to bits that Matthew has wanted to join his home town club over another massive Northern League outfit and a Football League club.
“He turned down an offer at Leyton Orient and he has been registered with us.
“This is the biggest player we have signed at the club and Matthew will be a fantastic addition to our squad.”
Grieve said: “Staying at home was the main thing I’m happy about, but I’m really delighted to sign for Ashington.
“I turned down Leyton Orient on Monday then Gary (Middleton) spoke to me straight away.”
Grieve – naturally disappointed after being released by Newcastle United – added: “It was weird playing against my old pals on Friday night but I think I’ll settle in with my new club okay.”
Ashington CFC vice-chairman Peter Moran said: “Matthew is a tremendous addition to the squad and Gary Middleton and Neil Winskill have done really well to attract him to the club.
“He had a two-year professional contract at Newcastle and after not being offered a new deal, was courted by several other north east clubs.
“He is an Ashington lad and when he was not playing, came to watch us so he is no stranger at Woodhorn Lane.
“I’m delighted he has agreed to join us, he’s a first class footballer and the club will benefit tremendously.”
Middleton further bolstered his squad last week with the addition of midfielder Andy Dugdale and Dean Deagle.
The pair also both figured in Friday’s warm-up game against the Magpies.
Dugdale started the game whilst Deagle came on as a second half substitute.
Middleton said: “Andy brings a vast amount of experience into our midfield.
“He is a League winner with both Whitley Bay and Newcastle Benfield and is a leader on the pitch.
“With our young squad we needed someone with experience and he fitted the bill.”
Of Deagle, Middleton added: “Dean was released by Hull City in the summer.
“He has done well in pre-season for us; has been impressed by our set up and had no hesitation in signing.
“He is a left side player and will be another good addition to the squad.”
Meanwhile Middleton revealed that he has released defenders Marc Walmsley and Chris Jewels.