SOCCER: United find that Mudd sticks

HAMISH BIDWELL
If you recruit them, they will come.
That's the rationale behind Hawke's Bay United's signing of former Brighton and Hove Albion, Bolton Wanderers and Olympique Lyon midfielder Lee Mudd. In announcing the capture of the 24-year old former Northern Ireland age-group international for the New Zealand Football Championship, Hawke's Bay United director Colin Stone said his arrival would hopefully trigger interest among other top players.
"In signing Lee, we wanted to get his name out early as a marketing tool," said Stone.
"For us, we think he's going to be a quality signing and we know that quality players attract more quality players. We're not signing a 40-year old hasbeen with Premier League experience, we've got a guy at the top of his game who's looking for a lifestyle change.
"Looking at his CV, Lee's had two spells with Lyon, who have been the French champions for the past two seasons, and he only left there to go home after his father died. If it weren't for that, he may still be there now."
Coach Perry Cotton said it was a relief to finally get Mudd's arrival in September after a lengthy negotiation process.
"This has been bubbling away for the last six to 12 months," Cotton said.
"We've done plenty of homework on Lee and seen plenty of him on video. His pedigree says it all and if he can deliver on that, then we've got a real quality player."
Mudd, who is being touted as a creative midfield player, began his career with Stockport County, before moving on to Bolton where he made 15 first team appearances in the 200-01 season. That was followed by two stints at Lyon and then the 2003-04 season with Brighton, before heading back to Irish Premier League side Larne.
Hawke's Bay United is likely to announce the signing of a former Scottish goalkeeper soon, with Stone saying that at least 30 players are still in the mix for the 20 spots on the team roster for the summer league.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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