ANDY HALLS believes it was time to step out of his ‘comfort zone’ after agreeing a one-year deal with Chester.
Halls has been snapped up from the Blues’ Cheshire rivals Macclesfield Town, where he was named captain last season and led John Askey’s side to the FA Trophy final.
The 25-year-old right-back, who made 109 appearances for the Silkmen since 2013, explained how he became frustrated with the constant end-of-season player turnover at Moss Rose and jumped at the chance to join up with Jon McCarthy’s side.
“It’s a strange one really because I’ve been Macclesfield Town captain this past season and if you’d asked me a few months ago I’d have had no desire to leave,” said the former Stockport defender, who played alongside former Blues favourite Kingsley James last season.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my four years with Macclesfield. I spoke to John Askey with about three weeks of the season left, and he just wasn’t sure where Macc were headed or what sort of deal there would be.
“I’m 25 now and that security is something I was looking for, being a full-time player. It just gives you that extra bit of safety as a National League player.
“I’m very lucky that Chester were interested, being so close to home and playing at the same level.
“I was impressed when I first spoke to the manager, and I was equally impressed by everyone I met at the club when I signed.
“I’m looking forward to the new challenge at a different club. I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone by leaving Macc, but I feel it’s a positive move and I can’t wait to get started.”
Halls, who scored his only goal last season in a 3-2 win away at Chester in March, feels the Blues have the potential to climb the ranks in the National League next term, and has been ‘impressed’ by the vision for the future of the club laid out by McCarthy and chief executive Mark Maguire.
“From when I’ve played at Chester and from visiting the club, it’s a brilliant club going in the right direction,” he continued.
“It’s a little frustrating at Macclesfield. We had a great season with the FA Trophy run, we were on TV in the FA Cup.
“But then players leave and the manager is forced to start from scratch again. But I’ve not got a bad word to say about Macc or the people there, they run a fantastic club.
“I just wanted a more professionally-run club and I think everything at Chester is set up to just that. I spoke with Jon and with Mark Maguire and I’ve been impressed with their vision for the club and the way they are trying to build the foundations to be a successful club in this league, that’s something you have to do.”
Chester finished last season in dismal fashion, losing eight consecutive home matches, but Halls believes that will be firmly put to the back of the players’ mind when the new campaign begins on August 5.
“I’m aware it was a poor end to the season for Chester but I’ve also spoken with the manager and as far as I’m concerned, that was last season, it’s gone now,” he added.
“I’m not too fussed what happened. I know they had a lot of injuries and some lads have moved on, so lets look forward to next season now and I think there’s a squad forming here which can push up the table.
“I’m confident with the players the manager has said he’s looking to bring in, it will be a good season at Chester.”
See full story in the Chester Leader