Graham Fenton told of South Shields’ long-standing admiration of new boy Luke Daly after revealing the midfielder had snubbed interest from elsewhere to join the Mariners.
Daly played twice against Shields last season for former club Droylsden, impressing on both occasions.
His performances caught the eye of Fenton and fellow joint manager Lee Picton, and when the opportunity came to bring the 22-year-old to Mariners Park, they seized it.
Daly had interest from clubs higher up the pyramid but opted to join former Burnley team-mate Nathan Lowe at Shields.
Fenton was delighted to seal his signature.
He said: “Luke is someone we’ve admired from a distance for a couple of years, so we’re delighted to be able to bring him into the club.
“We’re looking for him to compliment the players we already have and are confident he will do that.
“He has had interest from other clubs at higher levels and it shows the status of our club at the moment that we can attract someone who could have chosen to play for a side higher up the pyramid.”
Fenton and Picton were already fans of Daly, and their views of the player were strengthened after speaking with his former team-mate Lowe.
Fenton added: “We spoke to Nathan Lowe, who played with Luke at Burnley a few years ago, and he couldn’t speak highly enough of him.
“Luke did well against us in two games last season and caught our eye, particularly in the away match on what was an awful pitch on the day.
“He really stood out and caused us some big problems through the midfield area.
“He’ll bring real quality and athleticism to our midfield and give us more options and more competition for places, which is always going to be healthy.”
Daly took part in his first training session with his new team-mates on Thursday, and has already impressed the management.
Fenton said: “We were delighted with the start he made in training on Thursday.
“He looked really sharp and showed real quality on the ball.
“His ability to get around the pitch was evident in training so we’re really looking forward to seeing him put the South Shields shirt on.”
Droylsden, meanwhile, paid tribute to their former player on Twitter.
Match secretary Bryan Pace said: “Sorry to see you move on Luke but also pleased we may have helped you find your way in football again. All the best at South Shields.”
The club itself tweeted: “We are sure that everyone at the club wishes all the best to Luke Daly, who has today agreed terms with South Shields FC. All the best and thanks for the memories.”