NEIL Young’s decision to totally reshape his championship-winning squad continued apace yesterday.
The Chester FC boss completed the signings of Droylsden midfield general Alex Brown and prolific Buxton frontman Mark Reed – and told four of his title heroes they are free to leave.
Goalkeeper Richard Whiteside, midfielder Tom Field and strikers Kyle Wilson and Scott Barlow are heading out of the Exacta Stadium along with defender Stuart Jones.
Young’s sadness at letting the quintet go is tempered by his delight at the arrival on free transfers of Brown, Reed and flying winger Jerome Wright, whose move from FC United of Manchester was confirmed at the weekend.
Young, who last week swooped for Jamie Rainford and Liam Brownhill, said: “Football is all about word of mouth and we’ve been able to sign five very good players so far because they have heard very good things about the club.
“We enquired about Jerome and Mark in the January transfer window and we were quoted big fees so to be able to sign them on frees is excellent.
“We are signing an excellent player in Jerome. He’s quick, he gets at players, he scores goals and like another of our wingers – Iain Howard – he’s got fire in his belly.
“Mark is a proven goalscorer in the division we’re going into.
“He works very hard, scores lots of goals and although he’s not the biggest, he’s very good in the air.
“Alex is another significant signing. He’s a top, top player who is technically very gifted.”
Brown, 27, started his career at Crewe Alexandra and is likely to be used by Young in the centre of midfield.
Chester-born Reed, 29, who lives in Ellesmere Port, is Buxton’s all-time leading scorer with 191 goals in 317 appearances and will be one of four forwards Young will call on next season.
Wright, like Reed and Brown, has signed a one-year deal and will provide competition for Howard on the left. The 25-year-old scored 49 goals in 203 games in his time at FC United.
Young is now looking forward to a well-earned break, but he remains on the lookout for a goalkeeper, at least one more defender and further midfield reinforcements.
Whiteside, Field, Wilson and Jones will not command a fee but the Blues will be compensated if Barlow, as expected, completes a move to an unnamed Manchester-based club.
The five will not be the only players told to find new clubs.
Young said: “I would like to thank them for their commitment and effort. Unfortunately I’ve got to move players out to brings players in. It’s a horrible part of the job but it is a part of the job.”