Grantham Town re-sign 'Wardy'
By Callum Boyle
Towering tattooed talisman Tom Ward has been re-signed by Grantham Town.
The central defender returns to The Meres after helping Kings Lynn Town secure promotion to the Vanarama National League last season and is looking forward to commencing his second spell at the club.
“I’m really pleased to be back at the club” said Ward. “Being back at my local club and hearing all about the plans and ambitions that the club has were really exciting, and I’m really looking forward to playing for them again.
“With some of the things I have going on outside of football in terms of family life, as well as the extra contact hours we would have been having at Kings Lynn, I felt it would be too big of a commitment at this stage in my life, and it’s all about trying to find the right balance which luckily I will be able to get here.”
The local lad also could not hide his excitement about the prospect of playing with his new team-mates.
He said: “It’s the old cliché, but there’s a real good buzz around the club at the minute. I’ve had meetings with the chairman and his staff as well as chatting to Adam Smith and the manager, and the signs are really encouraging.
“When I was last here, we had aims of being competitive but now the mindset is different and it’s all about pushing on and seeing how far we can go.
“You look at some of the names that we have signed and there’s some very impressive footballing CVs and it’s a really exciting time for the club.”
Fans of the Gingerbreads will be seeing a lot more of Ward this time around after it was also announced that he would become part of the coaching staff at the Grantham Town Academy.
Aside from his playing duties, Ward will be working alongside youth team manager Louis Bland to help coach the Gingerbreads under-19 squad and it is a role that the 29-year-old cannot wait to get started.
Ward said: “I’m really happy to have been given this opportunity. I’m about to start a sports science and coaching degree at Loughborough University and this is a great chance to put into practice what I’ve learnt in a football environment, which is very good for me on a personal level.
“I want to help develop the youngsters here and hopefully get them ready to break into the first team when ready, and hopefully they are just as keen as I am to learn and I am really looking forward to a new challenge."
Grantham Town manager Martin McIntosh meanwhile was just as happy to add the 6ft 5in defender to his ranks ahead of the start of the 2020/21 season.
“I’m absolutely delighted to bring Tom back to the club” said the Gingerbreads boss.
“When a player like Tom comes up and is available, I had to make sure I threw my hat in the ring to try and get him, and it’s a brilliant signing for the club.
“We had to fight off a lot of competition for his signature with clubs all over, including ones in the division above, but I always want to bring in the best players I can and I am really happy to have added another great player to the squad.”
McIntosh was also quick to praise the men behind the scenes who helped to complete the deal who he said played a big part in the signing.
He said: “I think a lot of praise has to go to people behind the scenes. As much as I wanted to bring him in, there was a lot of hard work done by the chairman and the board of directors, as well as Adam Smith, to make sure we got his signature.
“Without all their hard work there’s no way I would have been able to sign him, as with a lot of our signings this season, and I’m really pleased with how it has gone.”
With the news of Ward also becoming a coach at the club’s academy, McIntosh also took the time to commend the efforts of the head of the academy, Alex Watson, and believes that the opportunity is a great way for his new signing to begin his journey into coaching.
He said: “Everyone has to start out somewhere when coaching and I think it is a very good place for him to start out.
“Having seen the academy and the way Alex Watson has it running, I think it looks fantastic and really well organised, making it a great place to learn his trade.
“The experience that Tom has will be brilliant for the young players coming through. They will learn a lot from him and help take their game to the next level.”