NEWPORT County’s summer spending spree began last night with two new arrivals signing on the dotted line.
On an extremely busy day at Spytty Park the Exiles secured the signatures of striker/winger Giuseppe Sole from Woking and defender Ollie Thorne from Forest Green Rovers.
Sole, still only 21, is a player boss Dean Holdsworth hugely admires and he has been a long-term target. He has not only agreed a one-year contract with the Exiles but confirmed he will be relocating to Gwent as well.
Central defender Thorne, 20, has also penned a one-year deal and both players will join the likes of Craig Reid, Sam Foley and Danny Rose in essentially being full-timers next term.
Thorne is a former MK Dons player and also had a spell with Rushden and Diamonds, having never played below the Conference National.
The good news for Exiles supporters does not stop there either, defender Jamie Collins also signing on to stay with County after smooth contract negotiations with boss Holdsworth. The Exiles will also today confirm that Chris Todd has been signed up on a permanent deal from Torquay although, as reported here, that was agreed several weeks ago.
However, Paul Cochlin has played his final game for the Exiles, agreeing a move to the Welsh Premier League with Neath, where he will form a formidable partnership with former County captain Ian Hillier and will also be reunited with Craig ‘Guppy’ Hughes.
Striker Dave Gilroy is apparently in negotiations with other clubs and seems certain to leave, while winger Charlie Henry is now the only member of the Blue Square South winning squad whose future is uncertain, contract talks having stalled recently.
However, the Argus can confirm that the Exiles will be announcing another new signing early next week, a midfielder who has been a regular opponent in previous seasons in the Blue Square South (we’ve been asked not to name him).
For now fans will be content to hear that the summer acquisitions have begun and Sole insists it was an easy decision to join the amber army.
“I have been so impressed with Newport County and Dean really sold the club to me, his ideas and the way he presented things, it was an easy choice to come here,” he said.
“The club is very impressive, the fans are formidable, loud and intimidating when you’re on the other side and I can’t wait to be a part of things.”
Sole will even leave behind his Italian parents in order to make his mark at Newport.
“I’ve always lived at home, but I think it’s important to move down to South Wales and be local for training and everything, so that’s what I am going to do,” he said.
“I want to hit the ground running in pre-season, I am a versatile player, comfortable on the wings or upfront and hopefully I can help us have a great season.”
Boss Holdsworth was thrilled with the signings.
“We’ve been looking at Giuseppe for a year, he had a lot of options and it’s great to get him down here,” he said.
“And Ollie is another with fantastic potential. He’s a giant central defender and with Paul Cochlin going, it was vital to get someone in with quality who can adapt to our new training schedule.”
l Meanwhile, Thorne’s former club Forest Green will likely face County next season after Salisbury City’s financial woes continued. It would seem, after a statement on the Salisbury website, that they will be demoted next term, meaning Forest Green earn a reprieve. If Salisbury, as is rumoured, are demoted to the Southern League, it may also mean salvation for Weston-super-Mare, in terms of their Blue Square South status.