Kingsley James says that his mind was already made up as to where he would play his football next season as soon as Chester FC came calling.
The 25-year-old midfielder returned to the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium after signing a two-year deal following his decision to reject fresh terms at Macclesfield Town.
James was a popular figure in his first spell with the club during the 2014/15 season and his return has been warmly received by Blues fans, with Chester boss Jon McCarthy completing some shrewd business during the summer that has raised plenty of eyebrows.
And it is that ambition that the Blues have demonstrated since the end of the season that appealed to James and he has already set some lofty goals for the 2017/18 Vanarama National League campaign.
“I’m really excited to get going and I’m glad to be back working with the gaffer again and back here,” said James, who left the Blues in 2015 to sign for FC Halifax Town before switching to Macclesfield the following season.
“I’ve always kept in touch with Macca and we’ve always spoke. At the end of the season he asked my availability and my contract had finished at Macc. I was trying to get into the League, that was my aim, but things didn’t work out but Chester was the best option for me and where I wanted to be. We got it done relatively quickly and although it’s taken a while my mind was made up.
“The gaffer, I know he works hard, he worked hard when he was assistant. He is into stats and he does a lot of hard work behind the scenes and I knew that, but speaking to him and seeing the players he has brought to the club and the ambition he has just solidified everything for me.”
A two-year deal for James follows that of two-year contracts for other new signings Ross Hannah and Paul Turnbull, and that stability is a bonus for Yorkshireman James who is keen to put down some roots after changing clubs for the past two years in the summer.
Said the former Port Vale and Hereford United man: “I need the stability, I’ve just got a new home with my wife. It settles me and I know for two years I have got to give everything for Chester and that is what I will do, as I did last time I was here.”
James had plenty of fond memories from his last spell with the Blues, a run to the FA Cup second round and providing the ball for Ben Heneghan’s last minute winner over Wrexham among them.
And with the National League having voted in favour of extending the play-off places to six from next season, James is confident he and his new teammates can make more happy memories this coming campaign.
“The cup run was fantastic, Southend and Barnsley were unbelievable for everyone,” he said.
“I have got a lot of good memories with the people who are here and the players we have brought in, no disrespect, it is a lot stronger than when I was here last.
“Hopefully we can push on further and get up the top end and fighting for the play-offs. Now that they have been extended we have got to be aiming for that. With the players that we have got there is no reason why not. Braintree made the play-offs the year before, so it can happen, but everyone has to be on the same wavelength and pulling in the right direction.”
James becomes Chester's eighth signing of the summer following on from Hannah, Turnbull, Andy Halls, John McCombe, Harry White, Nyal Bell and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner.