New Brighton & Hove Albion defender Matt Clarke says that the entire structure of the football club attracted him along the south coast.
The former Portsmouth man has put pen to paper on a four-year deal with the Seagulls to become the first arrival of the summer transfer window, and he revealed that there were a host of factors which made the move appealing.
He said, “I’m over the moon to be here, these things always take a little bit of time, but I’m delighted that it’s now been done.
“Everything here is set up for the club to keep progressing and that’s one of the main things which attracted me here. The training ground and stadium are set up to achieve good things and the Premier League is where every footballer wants to be.
“This club has been in this league for the past two seasons now. The latter half of last season wasn’t the easiest, but they got the job done and are in the division again for next year which is the most important thing.”
Clarke joined Ipswich Town at under-7 level and made his way through the ranks before getting his senior debut in August 2014.
A move to Fratton Park then followed, where the centre half became a mainstay. Albion’s newest recruit played every minute of league football last year, amassing over 4000 minutes on the field in the process.
He explained, “My time at Ipswich was fairly regular in terms of a progression. I came through as a scholar and made the journey to the first team from there.
“I then joined Portsmouth on loan initially to get myself out there and get into the Football League. One thing led to another and that then became a permanent move.
“It ended in four very good years for me. I played every league game last term and it’s something I’m very happy with.
“You always need a little bit of luck on the way because you never know what can happen, but I stayed clear of injury to keep fit and make it a good season.”
The defender will link up with Graham Potter’s squad at the end of next week when the players report back to the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
He looked ahead to joining up with his new teammates, as well as reflecting on his strengths as a player.
“I’m a wholehearted player who loves defending. I love making tackles and blocks and winning headers, as any defender does.
“Hopefully aside from that I’d like to think I have a little bit of quality on the ball as well, but my main responsibility first and foremost is to defend.
“For me it’s all about getting into pre-season with the rest of the squad now and hitting the ground running. I just can’t wait to get going.”