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Bedford Town secure surprise signing of ex-Championship and Scotland striker

Bedford Town this week manage to secure a surprise signing of an ex-EFL Championship and Scotland striker as the new season begins.

The Southern League Division One Central, who lost their season opener 4-0 away at Thame United, have also appointed a new manager in Gary Setchell following the resignation of Mark Duckett.

Their latest signing is the experienced 36 year old Craig Mackail-Smith, who had been with League Two outfit Stevenage in the 2019/20 season.

Craig said via social media: “I’ve absolutely loved my career in football. I’ve been to many clubs, learnt new things, won many awards, made lifelong friends, celebrated well and commiserated a few times too!

“My family, the fans and my passion for football have always been there for me and I’m sure they will all be with me on my new journey!

“I have signed for Bedford Town football club as it makes perfect sense for me to still be very much part of a team, see more of my family and to be able to work on many other ventures I want YOU to be a part of.

“I will still give every game 100% and I would love for you to join in our journey (we are allowed limited number of crowds at games) and be part of something special with hopefully many awards, achievements and promotions along the way. Exciting times ahead.”


2000–2003 – St Albans City – 31 games (1 goal)
2003 → Arlesey Town (loan)
2003–2004 – Arlesey Town
2004–2007 – Dagenham & Redbridge – 107 games (38 goals)
2007–2011 – Peterborough United – 185 games (80 goals)
2011–2015 – Brighton & Hove Albion – 109 games (21 goals)
2014 → Peterborough United (loan) – 3 games (0 goals)
2015–2017 – Luton Town – 35 games (4 goals)
2017 → Peterborough United (loan) – 18 games (5 goals)
2017–2020 – Wycombe Wanderers – 62 games (11 goals)
2019 → Notts County (loan) – 16 games (3 goals)
2019–2020 → Stevenage (loan) – 18 games (0 goals)
2020– Bedford Town

National team
2005–2006 – England C – 7 games (4 goals)
2011–2012 – Scotland – 7 games (1 goal)

Take a look at some of his goals from spells prior to signing for Wycombe back in 17/18…


Peterborough United
Football League Two runner-up: 2007–08
Football League One runner-up: 2008–09
Football League One play-offs: 2010–11

Football League One Player of the Year: 2010–11
PFA Team of the Year: 2010–11 League One
Football League One Golden Boot: 2010–11

Speaking to www.bedfordeagles.net, new manager Gary Setchell said: “I’m coming to Bedford as I feel the time is right to get back into the game. It is a club with massive potential. Having met with the owner, Jon and James (Football Secretary), I was impressed with their commitment to the club and where they want the club to move forward to. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but I’m ready for the games to start coming.”

Owner Jon Taylor commented: “When James and I discussed options for what we wanted from the next manager, we both agreed that a candidate who had achieved success at this level of football was vital. In Gary, we’ve secured the services of a manager who has done this and more, and is respected by players and many others in the non league game. I can’t wait to get him involved and see his drive in action to move the club forward.”

Bedford have no game on Saturday, as they received a bye in the FA Trophy. The Eyrie will be open for an open training session starting at 10am, followed by Maxey’s being open for the lunchtime Premier League game. There’s also a supporters working group day, completing painting and other tasks.

Gary’s first game in charge and Craig’s expect debut will be Tuesday night’s home fixture against Berkhamsted FC before Barton Rovers visit the Eyrie on Saturday. You must buy tickets in advance to attend these fixtures, and you can get them now at https://bedfordtownfc.ktckts.com/

Fans and clubs reacted as Bedford Town secure the surprise signing of the ex-Championship and Scotland striker…

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