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Ex-Championship player signs for ninth tier club leaving fans impressed

An ex-Championship player signs for ninth tier club Hanley Town, who have a squad which is becoming more and more recognisable of late.

The North West Counties Premier Division outfit have confirmed that the 34-year-old is set to link up with ex-Vale teammate Carl Dickinson next season, as the current Yeovil Town defender prepares to step in as player-manager.

Dodds has been with Hednesford Town during this past season, but left them for personal reasons, as explained in a statement below.

Hednesford said of his departure: “It was a tough decision. However, due to personal circumstances and distance to the Southern League games, and availability for training (due to other work commitments), it was felt it was what was best for himself and the club, so he could find a club closer to his home and work.

“Through all his time at the club, he was a true professional on and off the pitch, and he leaves with our blessing as we part on good terms.”


Youth career
1997–2006 – Leicester City

Senior career
2006–2008 – Leicester City
2006 → Northwich Victoria (loan) – 6 games (3 goals)
2007 → Rochdale (loan) – 12 games (2 goals)
2007–2008 → Lincoln City (loan) – 41 games (9 goals)
2008–2016 – Port Vale – 289 games (51 goals)
2016–2018 – Shrewsbury Town – 47 games (8 goals)
2018–2019 – Chesterfield – 12 games (0 goals)
2018–2019 → Port Vale (loan) – 12 games (0 goals)
2019–2020 – Chorley – 17 games (0 goals)
2020–2021 – Hednesford Town – 11 games (3 goals)
2021– Hanley Town

Dodds’ style of play is described: “A skilful and pacey player, due to his goalscoring ability he is able to play as both a midfielder and as a striker. He has stated that he prefers to play in the centre of the pitch.[73] Despite his finishing skills from open play, he is a very poor penalty-taker.

“[Dodds] has a great brain and he sees passes that nobody else sees. He has unbelievable quality and he’s always trying different things. He has that ability similar to how Dennis Bergkamp used to be at Arsenal. I’m not comparing him to Bergkamp, but he had that vision to spot a pass and time it well. If you can read it and make the runs, he will create a lot for you,” — Port Vale teammate Tom Pope.

Dodds, born in Sheffield, grew up supporting Sheffield Wednesday. During his time at Vale Park he was considered the “ringleader of the dressing-room banter”. He wrote a column in Staffordshire newspaper The Sentinel in November 2015.

He was part of the Valiants team that secured promotion from League Two after finishing third-place in the 2012–13 season.

Fans reacted after seeing the ex-Championship player signs for a ninth tier club…

@jasesherratt: Great signing that is. Some decent stuff going on at Hanley Town at the moment. Will definitely pay them a visit and bring my 2 boys with me

@GabSutton: Didn’t mind Dodds in L1/L2 earlier in his career. Would’ve thought he’ll be an excellent player at your level. Good luck!

@LWHagan: This is lovely @LouisDodds. Finally a club I can get behind.

@RobIrving11: Doddsy should absolutely tear it up at that level. Only trouble will be if his teamates are on the same wavelength. I’d imagine Doddsy will be seeing passes and runs that 9th tier players just wont be anticipating.

@BodeyWanKenobi: Could we see a Dodds and Fuller partnership next season?👀👀

@jamescsalmon: Na-na, na-na, na-na, na-na-na-na now Super Louis Dodds Louis Dodds Super Louis Dodds 🎶🎵🎶🎵👏👏 Top player @LouisDodds #pvfc @HanleyTown66

@MaxWithey: The legend is still knocking about

@MxndaJay: What a signing! SUPER LOUIS DODDS!

@Seb_ElJefe: Unreal signing this lads

@BA_Valiants: I move away from Stoke and the football club I could see from my bedroom window when I was growing up start taking things seriously.

@TwistedmindPhot: Congrats to @HanleyTown66 and @LouisDodds. My lads ref’ed here in the past and im sure we will pop down to watch a game or two . Great signing

@packmoorpotter: Looking forward to meeting you @LouisDodds

@Aaronrutter9: Great signing, remember seeing his on the Nintendo gameboy version of fifa some years back

@BerrisfordSimon: Delighted to hear you’ll be going up Anley duck on a regular basis next season! You’ll even be able to run or cycle to work! Hope it works out well for you.

@pvfcthistle: You’ve guaranteed 100s of Vale fans attending now. What a player and what a bloke! Great signing town

@ollyandpatch: Will have to pay a visit.

@ChrisEdge81: What a signing!

@bouncebackphy: Brilliant signing, well done Louis

@Casey50Chris: Good luck LD and Hanley Town

@SimonHumphreys1: Another excellent signing for the club. 👏👏👏

@BarryRGibson: Absolutely inspired signing, brilliant on and off the pitch

@M4rt89: Will definitely come watch a game next season

@Neil_legend_: Can’t wait for next season to start. Me and the lad will be watching…

@genuineturbo: Oh my! Great signing that!

@PetejPjvale: Super Louis Dodds 👏

@Peterkay2k11: I know what other team I will be supporting next season

@pvfc_zack: Wow great signing is @LouisDodds absolutely loved him at vale

@robrhead: Hanley mean business. Hope to pop down next season Vale matches permitting.

@ryan_ATY: Well in Louis. Hopefully get to see ya play when I’m over next

@jonpaulh: A great signing.

@sacavsworld: Showing some intent with this signing, good luck to @HanleyTown66 for the 21/22 season.

@AdeDando: Quality player and a great guy. All the best at hanley Louis.

The signing weeks after it was confirmed that 33 year old Carl Dickinson, will be a player-manager as they eye to climb the leagues.

Hanley’s squad currently consists of Kieran Brown, Josh Beaumont, Daniel Needham, Tim Sanders, Brian Barton, Mackenzie Faulkner, Tom Ashton, Nathan Okome, Joe Thompson, Kyle Stubbs, Ben Chapman, Callum Feeney, Jake Langdridge, Jon Sheldon, Niall Cope, Adam Lawrence, Ricardo Fuller, Louis Anthony, Ryanjay Malbon, Charlie Walford, George Woodroffe, Tyler Savage, Rhys Thompson, Warren Holmes, Tom Winkle, Peter Williams, Josh Bristow, Dane Jackson, Jordan Darlington, Nev Thompson, Harry Goode, Kieron Williams, Luke Lewis and Semi Wara according to their official site.

Dickinson has been a key figure at Yeovil Town in the National League, having joined the club in 2018, but leaves after 91 appearances and two goals.

He came through the ranks at Stoke City and helped the Potters win promotion to the Premier League in 2008. The left-back then became Port Vale captain during a three-year stay from 2013.


Former Stoke City and Port Vale defender Carl Dickinson had agreed in principle to become the new manger of the club.

Dickinson will take on the role of player manager at the club when his current deal with Yeovil Town ends at the end of the season.

A three year deal has been agreed with the club in what shows the ambition we have here.

Speaking on social media earlier on our new manager said he was “excited for the future” as he looks ahead to his first management role.

Now that he has signed the deal he goes back to Yeovil Town where he will stay 100% focused on the rest of the season at Huish Park.

Before the season was abandoned, Hanley Town sat 7th with 11 points in the North West Counties Premier Division (9th tier of English football).

Ex-Championship player signs for ninth tier club leaving fans impressed

A better start compared to the 2019/20 season which saw them bottom of the league, before the season was cancelled. They picked up 21 points from 30 matches played but avoided relegation due to no teams going up or down.

Back in 2020, the new Hanley chairman said he aims to make Staffordshire based club “the biggest in the area”.

Speaking to Sport in Staffs, Ron outlined his ultimate objective for the club.

“Within five years to become the biggest club in the area, both on and off the field,” he stated.

“I want to make Hanley Town accessible and welcoming for all to come and watch football.”

Now you’ve seen that ex-Championship player Louis Dodds signs for the ninth tier club, do you think they will win promotion next season?

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