Ashington CFC’s latest recruit Kyle Oliver has described how it was a ‘no brainer’ to link up with his hometown club after being recently released by Championship side Middlesbrough.
Oliver, who was born and bred in Ashington and who still lives in Wansbeck, did not have his contract renewed by the Riverside outfit after a five-year spell during which time he also wore the armband for a two-year period as reserve team captain.
Oliver, 21, said at the weekend: “I had suffered a knee injury – and when I was told that I would no longer be part of the club I was gutted.”
However, Oliver had no hesitation in putting pen to paper at Woodhorn Lane.
He said: “I had offers from other clubs but turned them down because it was a no brainer to sign for Ashington.
“I am an Ashington lad, I know the manager Gary Middleton as well as a few of the other players, and in the past whenever I’ve had the opportunity, I’ve always come along to watch the club from the terraces.”
This will not be the first time that Oliver has worn Ashington’s colours.
He added: “I used to play for them before I went to Sunderland and then progressed to Middlesborough, so it was always going to be a case of itching to play for them again.”
Oliver still harbours hopes of rejoining the professional ranks and has an agreement in place with the Colliers boss.
“Obviously I am here to do a job here but Gary and myself have had a chat and if another team comes in he will not stand in my way,” said the midfielder.
“No disrespect to Ashington, but I have set myself to play at a higher level.
“I’ve had five years at pro level and I still want to be a professional footballer.”
Middleton said of his latest capture: “I used to coach Kyle when he was at Seaton Hirst and Hirst High schools and I have followed his progress at Middlesbrough.
“He also used to pop into the gym at the Hirst Welfare so I was always in touch with his progress, and as soon as his contract was not renewed, I offered him the opportunity to come along with us pre-season.
“We have got his services at the moment – and I must say that Kyle has shown a great attitude.
“He knows some of the lads already and has fitted in straight away and looks a class player.
“However, if a bigger club above Northern League level were to come in for him, we are hoping that he would go onto a bigger stage.”
Meanwhile a goal in each half from Marc Walton and Lee Scott gave Ashington a 2-0 win over Coldstream in their third warm-up game of the campaign on Saturday.
The Colliers host Birtley on Thursday, July 18, at 7pm, then travel to play Shankhouse on Saturday (3pm).