Words John Edwards | Pictures Jonathan Moore
PHIL Parkinson has significantly bolstered his attacking options by landing Dan Mooney from Southend United and welcoming him back for a second spell at The J.Davidson Stadium.
Several other clubs were quick off the mark when it became known that Dan was leaving Roots Hall, but the free-scoring winger had only one thought in mind as he weighed up his next move.
After putting the finishing touches to a permanent deal with the Robins, Dan, whose 64th-minute goal sealed Alty's return to the Vanarama National League in a tense 1-0 play-off final victory at Boston United just over four years ago, provided an insight into his thinking by saying:
"A few clubs came in, and there were conversations, so it was a case of choosing the right project for rebuilding my career and kicking on and being able to enjoy my football again. It didn't take long to realise my time at Alty first time round was right up there with the best I've had.
"The relationship I had with the gaffer was really good. Along with Sorvs and the staff, he gave me a platform where I could play as I wanted to play and express myself as I wanted to, and the numbers proved how well that worked. I hope that can happen again.
"I have watched a few Alty videos and seen a few games, and the lads have been doing brilliantly. It's the defence as well as attack, the whole team working as one with everyone doing their job, and I want to help the push to finish as high as possible in the table.
"There were reasons why I left for Southend, such as wanting to test myself at such a big club. Some people will be all right with that, but some will be unhappy. I accept that, but I just hope I can earn the fans' respect and win them over by showing them what I had previously and doing it all over again."
Alty boss Phil Parkinson was delighted to strengthen his forward line with a 24-year old who was snapped up by Southend in May 2022 at the end of an outstanding campaign for the Robins in which he was voted Players' Player of the Season and the National League Young Player of the Year after scoring 13 goals and registering eight assists.
"I’m over the moon (no pun intended!) to welcome Moons back where he belongs - back with the Alty Family," he said. "He played a key role in helping us regain our National League status, and we are hoping he can make a similar impact, going into the second half of the season, to aid our ambitions of making the play-offs.
"Dan was a big fans' favourite last time around, and I’m sure it won’t take him long to win the Alty faithful over again.
"He’s the type of winger I like to recruit. He has many qualities, but his main one for me is his bravery to embrace pressure and step up to the plate when the team need him most. A similar quality that Chris Conn-Clarke has; both are match winners.
"I know some will say you should never go back, but I disagree. Dan has come home, again similar to Chris under different circumstances last season. But the point is, we play a way that suits them, and I’m very confident his new team-mates will complement his skill set and it’ll enhance everything we do, especially in the front ranks.
"This time last season, we lost our frontline, all five of them, in Ryan Colclough, Chris, Elliot Newby, Connor Jennings and Marcus Dinanga. We’re making sure we’ll remain strong in this area if anything similar happens this January.
"We sold Dan to Southend and we are getting him back for free at a great age and point in his career. That’s great business in my eyes, and I’m sure our fans will make it a smooth transition for him as well.
"He’s back home in Alty colours once again, and he will certainly bring goals and entertaining, memorable moments - of that I have no doubt."
A warm welcome back to The J.Davidson Stadium, Dan, and here's hoping your second spell with the club is every bit as rewarding and eye-catching as the first.