Welcome to Alty, Tom Crawford - Phil lands top midfielder

Words John Edwards

PHIL Parkinson has added a "top player" to Altrincham's engine room after snapping up former Hartlepool United central midfielder Tom Crawford.

The 25-year old 6ft 1in England C cap was the surprise omission from Hartlepool's retained list after he consistently stood out for them last season and scored five goals in a total of 39 appearances, despite an often difficult campaign for the club that ended with a 12th place finish.

Alty boss Phil wasted no time offering him a fresh start at The J.Davidson Stadium after identifying his experience and all-round skills as the ideal addition to the Robins' midfield options.

Welcoming him aboard as Alty begin the build-up to another eagerly anticipated Vanarama National League campaign, Phil said: "Tom is a player I have greatly admired for a number of seasons, so when the opportunity arose to sign him, I did not hesitate. He will complement and enhance our midfield.

"He was a top performer last season, topping all the statistics charts, so we have got a top player on our hands, one I can't wait to see turning out in the red and white. He will be a pleasure to watch, a true professional, and I'm sure the Alty faithful will agree with me that we've got a top player joining us."

Tom, who hails from Blacon on the outskirts of Chester, made it clear he is eager to get going and make a positive impact in Alty colours.

"I'm very happy to sign for Altrincham," he said. "After sitting down with the manager and hearing his intent to bring me here, I knew this was the club for me. This is where I want to be playing my football.

"The team did fantastically well last season in reaching the play-off semi-final. I hope I can add my own qualities to the group and my experience in the league to help us go one further and get promotion.

"The club are on an upward trajectory and are very competitive. We believe as a group that we can get out of the division, and that's what we will be aiming for this coming season. I can't wait to meet all the supporters and have another successful campaign."

Tom was at Stoke City's Academy up to the age of 15, after which he joined Chester, where he made 17 appearances before turning down the offer of a new deal and signing for Notts County in May 2018.

A couple of months later, he announced himself to fans at Meadow Lane by making a goalscoring debut against Middlesbrough in the EFL Cup, and though opportunities were limited, he impressed sufficiently during a loan spell at AFC Fylde to earn his next move.

Dave Challinor was the manager at Fylde, and when he took over at Hartlepool, one of his first moves was to sign Tom in August 2020, marking the start of a four-year stay at Victoria Park for the midfielder in which he clocked up 120 appearances.

A warm welcome to The J.Davidson Stadium, Tom, and everyone at the club would like to wish you every success in Alty colours.

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Altrincham FC

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