Goal-machine Jordan Connerton aims for happy spell at Kendal Town after his Crewe cut (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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Goal-machine Jordan Connerton aims for happy spell at Kendal Town after his Crewe cut
GOALS are the currency all strikers deal in and one man with plenty of credit in the bank already this season is Kendal Town marksman Jordan Connerton.
The 23-year-old has made a blistering start to his third spell at Parkside Road, heading the league’s goalscoring charts and taking his tally to six with Saturday’s strike in the FA Cup.
But success at this level is nothing new for Connerton, with his exploits for Lancaster City during the 2009/10 campaign failing to go unnoticed in the higher echelons of the football pyramid.
After netting 35 times by mid-February, Leeds United, Derby County and Celtic were reportedly among the 20 clubs chasing his signature.
And when a deal to join Motherwell fell through due to manager Jim Gannon receiving his p45, Connerton signed for Dario Gradi’s Crewe Alexandra for a fee of £35,000.
But after initially returning to the Giant Axe on loan and making his debut in a League Cup defeat to Ipswich Town the following season, his dream move turned sour.
The forward made only one league appearance during his time at Gresty Road – a cameo during Crewe’s 8-1 thrashing of Cheltenham Town – something which still rankles.
“There were a lot of club’s interested in me but I plumped for Crewe because of their reputation for promoting youth and developing players from non-league and selling them on,” he said.
“I always wanted to play professional football and the facilities there were great so it was a fantastic opportunity.
“But unfortunately I suffered a succession of injuries and the manager didn’t take to me – I later found out it wasn’t Dario who wanted to sign me but his assistant Neil Baker.
“In the end, Dario didn’t consider me to be his sort of player which was strange given they had paid a significant amount of money for me.
“If Crewe had played me and I wasn’t good enough I would have held my hands up but it was the fact I wasn’t given a chance that doesn’t sit well.
“It’s frustrating as that could be my only chance to make it at that level. But that happens I guess – football’s a cut-throat business.”
Before being released in 2012, Connerton spent time on loan at Kendal and Workington as well as taking in two spells with Nantwich Town.
In a more standout move, he was also loaned to Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja and played in Iceland’s top-flight, the Pepsi-dielden, a time he looks back on fondly.
“Crewe had links with IBV over in Iceland and sent a couple of younger boys over there from time to time,” he added.
“Because I wasn’t playing I was asked if I fancied going and I went for it as I thought it would help my chances at Crewe, so Kelvin Mellor and I headed over there.
“It was certainly different. I played in their premier league which is mad in itself as I was on TV and became a bit of a celebrity, especially as a foreign player.
“It was surreal. The island I lived on could only be accessed by boat or plane and it was like a version of Coronation Street, everyone knew each other.
“I enjoyed it but injuries curtailed that as well sadly.”
Having previously required surgery for a double hernia, the Lancaster-born frontman is still hampered by injury and regularly plays through the pain barrier.
Connerton though is determined to make a mark this season and enjoy his football, refusing to allow his stint at Crewe ruin his love for the game he has grown up with.
But in terms of resurrecting a professional career, while not ruling anything out, he is content to concentrate on his time at Parkside Road and let the future take care of itself.
“Being at Crewe killed me mentally so I don’t aspire to play at that level as such, I came to Kendal to enjoy my football and if something happens down the line then so be it,” he said.
“I still take football seriously and always will but it’s more about enjoyment now as opposed to making a living from it.
“All I’ve ever known, even through college and university, has been football-related, but I’ve just started a new job completely away from the game.
“I’m here because Steve (Edmondson) made a big attempt to get me to the club and really wanted me to come.
“I know Niall Cowperthwaite and Rob Wilson really well and I’m happy to be playing football with my mates.”
Kendal currently find themselves mid-table in Evo-Stik League Division One North, with wins in their opening two fixtures offset by recent defeats to New Mills and Darlington 1883.
From bitter experience, Connerton understands the unforgiving nature of this league, having missed out on promotion with Lancaster City in 2010 despite amassing 96 points.
But the ex-Chorley attacker remains confident the Mintcakes can return to form sooner rather than later and make an impact in the higher reaches of the division.
“On a personal note it has been a very good start, scoring in each match and netting more than a goal a game is always good for a striker,” he added.
“I’m always confident I’ll score goals in whatever team I play and I know I’ll score goals in this Kendal side as we have an abundance of attacking players that will create chances.
“On a team level, it’s been a bit frustrating as defensively we have been suspect in nearly every game so far and words have been said in the dressing room.
“But we are a new group of players and this is a difficult league. We’ve got a good side and with some patience I think we can gel.
“Hopefully as a unit we can come together and get on the winning trail again.”
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