Striker Lewis Alessandra is to bring his vast experience to South Shields after becoming the Mariners’ eighth summer signing.
Alessandra, who departed Carlisle United in the summer, has spent his entire 15-year career to date in the Football League, making over 400 appearances in the competition.
The 33-year-old is now bringing his talents to 1st Cloud Arena after spells with Oldham Athletic, Morecambe, Plymouth Argyle, Rochdale, York City, Hartlepool United, Notts County and Carlisle.
He said: “South Shields is definitely a club on the up and going places with big aspirations, so I’m delighted to be part of it.
“They made me feel very wanted, which was a big factor in my decision, and I can’t wait to get started.
“I knew a few of the lads here already and they said everything I wanted to hear in terms of the set-up and the way the club goes about things.
“I had a chat with the manager, who has great pedigree as a forward himself, and it will be great to get the chance to learn from him, even at my age.
“He explained what he was looking for in a forward, which suits the way I play, and everything I’ve heard and seen regarding the way the team likes to play has been positive.
“Now I have to prove my worth and try to get into the starting 11 and make the position my own.”
A versatile forward, Alessandra’s best work is usually through the middle, but he is also capable of playing in wide positions.
He is in no doubt as to the Mariners’ target for 2022-23.
Alessandra added: “We must aim to be right at the top of the league.
“It doesn’t always just happen the way you expect and that’s why being professional and setting high standards every day is so important.
“As a full-time squad we have to be as fit as possible and our target has to be promotion.”
South Shields manager Kevin Phillips said: “Lewis is another fantastic signing for the club.
“He is someone who has only ever played league football, so to attract a player of his calibre is a massive coup.
“We’re naturally delighted to have him as he brings added competition to the squad and excellent quality, alongside the players we already have in that position.
“He brings brilliant pedigree, experience and leadership qualities, and fits well with the players we have signed this summer and those who were already here.
“I’m very pleased with the balance of the squad and this will be our last addition for the foreseeable future.”
You can purchase a season ticket to watch Alessandra and his new team-mates by clicking here.
Alessandra is not expected to be available to make his debut in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Dunston.
Lewis Alessandra has become the latest player with vast Football League experience to sign for the Mariners.
As he gets to know his new team-mates and begins training ahead of a hoped-for debut in the league season opener against Stalybridge Celtic, we take a closer look at the forward.
- Lewis Alessandra was born on February 8th, 1989 in Heywood, a town in the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, Greater Manchester
- He was in Rochdale’s school of excellence as an 11-year-old but progressed through the junior ranks at nearby Oldham Athletic
- Alessandra made his first-team debut for the Latics as an 18-year-old in an October 2007 League One clash against Huddersfield Town, with his first start coming against Swansea City
- His first senior hat-trick came for Oldham against then-League One leaders Scunthorpe United at the age of 19
- More first-team experience was gained through a loan spell with Chester City, although it was cut short after the National League side was expelled from the league and had its record expunged
- Alessandra’s time at Oldham ended in the summer of 2011 and he was quickly snapped up by Morecambe of League Two
- The forward, who prefers to play centrally but has also been deployed in wide positions in spells of his career, demonstrated his versatility at Morecambe across two campaigns which saw him establish himself as a regular in the team
- Plymouth Argyle came calling in 2013 and Alessandra hit double figures for goals in both of his seasons with the club, ending his two years with the club with 25 goals
- He had short stints with Rochdale and York City (loan) in the 2015-16 season before finding his feet again at Hartlepool United, where he played in all 46 league fixtures in 2016-17
- After Hartlepool dropped out of League Two, Alessandra remained in the Football League with Notts County, where he stayed for two years
- He then returned to Morecambe on a short-term deal, spending six months with the club before joining Carlisle United in January 2020
- Alessandra was a popular figure in two-and-a-half years with the Cumbrians, making 87 appearances in all competitions
- A player of vast experience, he has more than 400 Football League appearances to his name and more than 500 career appearances overall
- Alessandra has now joined South Shields as he bolsters Kevin Phillips’ squad ahead of the 2022-23 season