KIDSGROVE Athletic have completed the signing of former Port Vale favourite Chris Birchall and he goes straight into the squad for tomorrow's home game against Bedworth United.
Player/manager Ryan Austin met Birchall this morning and completed the paperwork in time for him to be included for their Evo-Stik Division One South clash at the Novus Stadium.
Austin, who took over the managerial reins three weeks ago, says he's delighted with the signing as he continues to build for the future.
“It's a real big signing for Kidsgrove Athletic and I am delighted Chris has agreed to join us. I am absolutely over the moon," said the manager.
“I have been trying to bring in players since I took on the job, but it's not always easy, but it's great I have been able to complete this one so quickly."
Kidsgrove are sitting fourth bottom of the table going into tomorrow's game, but Austin is hoping Birchall can use his years of experience to help them start picking up points and climbing the table.
“Chris has a wealth of experience in the game and I'm hoping he can have a big influence on the rest of the squad," said Austin who also has former Crewe Alex defender Dave Artell in his team.
Chris hasn't played a lot of football lately, but he says he's fit and looking forward to playing for Kidsgrove," said Austin who believes it will give everyone connected with the club a boost.
“It's a major signing for the club and I am hoping it will give everyone a lift, not just the players but the supporters too. I'm looking at building a team capable of competing for the play-offs and Chris can play a major part in that team," said Austin who believes the signing will create some interest in and around Kidsgrove.
“We had a decent crowd for our FA Cup match against Matlock Town last weekend, so I am hoping a few more will come down and support us and get right behind the team."
Birchall, from Stone, turned down a new deal at Vale Park having been one of a number of players asked to take a significant pay cut in the summer. He was wanted by Salford City, but picked up an injury before he could sign for them.
The 32 year old came through the youth system at Vale Park and became the first ever Valiants player to appear in the World Cup finals when he played for Trinidad and Tobago in the 2006 tournament in Germany.
He was sold to Coventry City for £325,000 later that summer and then went on to play for LA Galaxy where he was a team mate of David Beckham.
He re-signed for Vale in January 2013 and helped the club win promotion from League Two that season.
But his opportunities at Vale last season were limited because of a knee injury. He only made one appearance for the Valiants in the second half of the campaign.