ASA CHARLTON FEATURE
Mansfield move for Reds' star
By David Lawrence
DEFENDER Asa Charlton has landed a dream move to Football League side Mansfield Town - just days before his 29th birthday.
And the hard-tackling Redditch United stopper admits the deal caught him on the hop.
"It happened so quickly at the end that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye to anyone at the club," he explained.
"But I'm hoping to get back for the Birmingham Senior Cup game against Stratford Town on Tuesday to see everybody then."
The League Two side first made contact during the summer when manager Peter Shirtliff took Charlton to Field Mill for pre-season training.
"I went there for a couple of days and thought it would be good for my fitness," the player added.
"I played in a reserve game and that was it.
"I heard nothing for a few months but then the manager asked me to go back and play another game. But the call came out of the blue, it was a total shock to be honest as I never expected anything to come of it."
Charlton was working as a drayman for Banks's Brewery before getting the call and the Wolverhampton-based brewers have agreed to keep his job open just in case things don't work out in the Football League.
"They have been brilliant but this was a chance for me to play football full-time and I had to give it a go," he added.
"Working on the drays is quite physical so that has kept me fit but it is still going to be a while before I get used to training every day!"
And Charlton revealed that a move into the Football League would have been the only way he would have left the Reds.
"I have known manager Gary Whild for a few years and played for him at Stourport before coming to Redditch.
"Gary, Kim Casey and all the people at the club have been brilliant and I would not have gone to another non-league side because it is such a good club."
Charlton was due to sign his contract yesterday and will be given the number 21 shirt.
Shirtliff was a no-nonsense defender himself, playing more than 500 league games for clubs including Wolves, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley. This is his second season in charge of the Stags.
He said: "Asa is a tough boy who is never fazed by anything and, at 28, he is quite mature.
"We needed strengthening in that area and the chairman has allowed me to do it. I know Asa has never played in the league but he has always played at a decent standard. A league career never materialised for him and he was probably a bit unlucky.
"We have offered him the chance and, at his age, he knew if he didn't do it now he may never do it. We are pleased to give him this opportunity and I think he will do well."
Latest | November 2006