It’s a huge coup for Darlington today as they sign ex-EFL turned non league player Akwasi Asante, 31, described as ‘too good for this level’.
Asante kick started his senior career in England with Birmingham City and managed to make it into the first team, his debut coming in the Europa League play-off round second leg against CD Nacional in August 2011, and made his debut in the EFL while on loan at Northampton in January 2012.
He went on to have loan spells at Shrewsbury Town in both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 campaign, unfortunately an injury disrupted his progress, so he departed Birmingham when his contract expired.
He spent part of the 2014/15 season with Kidderminster Harriers, then Solihull Moors, with whom he won the National League North title.
Asante joined Grimsby Town in January 2017, missed the first few months of 2017–18 recovering from injury, so he went on loan to former club Solihull Moors, then left Grimsby by mutual consent in February 2018.
He completed the season with Tamworth, and after a short spell on loan at Chester, permanently linked up with in January 2019.
He spent the first few months of the 2020–21 season with Gloucester City, and then joined Chesterfield, where his three-year stay was again interrupted by injuries.
🖊️ NEW SIGNING: AKWASI ASANTE
Darlington are delighted to announce the signing of striker Akwasi Asante!
— Darlington FC (@Official_Darlo) November 14, 2023
🎯 A look at our new striker!
— Darlington FC (@Official_Darlo) November 14, 2023
Darlington have today signed striker Akwasi Asante following his release by Chesterfield.
Akwasi, who is 31, joined Birmingham City in 2008, and made his debut for them in the Europa League in 2011. He made his Football League debut when on loan at Northampton, and he also had a loan spell at Shrewsbury.
After he left Birmingham, he played and was a regular scorer for Kidderminster, Solihull, Tamworth, Chester and Chesterfield. He also played briefly for Grimsby, where he was a teammate of Darlington manager Josh Gowling. He has won promotion from the National League North with Solihull and helped Chesterfield into the National League play offs. He has scored over 100 goals in his career, including a hat trick for Chester against us in 2018.
Akwasi has recovered from an injury earlier this season and passed a medical with our physio. He is short of match fitness and needs a mini pre-season to help him reach the required level, and therefore won’t be in the squad at Chorley on Tuesday night.
We would like to welcome Akwasi to the club, and wish him all the best during his stay with us.
Interviewer: Akwasi big welcome to Darlington, great to have you here I know these things tend to move quite fast the way deals happen so talk us through how this week’s been how the last few days have been and uh and why you’ve chosen to come play for Darlington?
Akwasi: Yeah thank you for welcoming me, yeah obviously as you know I left Chesterfield uh last week and obviously I’ve been in I’ve been in talks with a few clubs but Josh Gowling, the manager here, he I know him really well from my uh my days at Kidderminster and also Grimsby and we’ve always stayed in touch and um he’s always showed interest and he’s always tried to get me to uh obviously Hereford where he was before um messaged me a few months ago as well about um potential loans uh coming on along to Darlington but um we’ve managed to obviously sort something out now so onwards and upwards for me now yeah
Interviewer: Very good, so what did Josh say to you then what was he telling you about Darlington and the project that he’s got here that persuaded you to come and sign
Akwasi: Yeah was just full of praise um I did obviously I did ask him what was the uh ambition of the club um where is it heading um obviously looking at the league table doesn’t look great but um I said to him you know I’m not really worried about that because it’s still we’re only in November and it’s a big club for the level and it shouldn’t be there so I said obviously I’d be happy to to help him get the club out up up the table
Interviewer: Fantastic I was just spending a little bit of time whilst waiting to chat for you watching the hat-trick that you scored against Darlington a few years ago for Chester but for those darling fans who maybe haven’t seen you in action so much what type of forward are you what are the attributes that you’ll be bringing to the club
Akwasi: Yeah that was that hat-trick was actually my debut for Chester and um yeah it was a it was it was a a special moment at the time cuz um I was in a similar situation where I hadn’t been playing and then I went on loan and then obviously managed to to score a hat-trick on my debut but you know, I would say um I’m a bit of a an all rounder, I’ve got a bit of pace I’m quite strong technically sound so and I can score goals if you know, if you look at my record so I consider myself quite an all around striker
Interviewer: Good and bags of goals bags of goals at Gloucester and then I know the manager took to Chesterfield and started really quickly at Chesterfield as well some fantastic experiences scored at Stamford Bridge and some moments like that but not so many games recently are you fit ready to go I know it’s been a few weeks or months since you last had a first team game how you feeling and are you fit and ready to go
Akwasi: Yeah um I’ve been, obviously I haven’t played for quite a while now, I’ve not played this season I think my last appearance was April this year, but I’ve been keeping myself fit you know I’ve been going to the gym and making sure that I’m ready when called upon on, so at a minute I’m just raring to go I’ve missed you know being on the pitch scoring goals that’s what I enjoyed doing so um I just want to um you know get back on the pitch and just show everyone what I can do
Interviewer: You’ve been promoted out of this league as well with Solihull I think 2016 sometime like that what is it that you need in this league in the National League North I know it’s a level lower than you’ve been playing most recently but what is it that you need to do as a team and as an individual to be successful at this level
Akwasi: Yeah from my experience anyway obviously when I got promoted at this league with Solihull it was around yet 16/17 we were very fortunate to keep everyone fit um we had a good team spirit and um we were you know physically quite quite strong and the manager put a great team together but at the end of it’s a mentality thing you know you got to turn up and you got to want to win and you got to believe that you can you can do it so um you need a bit of lock you know um keeping players fit and um obviously you need good players obviously, but I’m sure you know Darlington can do it yeah
Interviewer: And then final question I suppose a bit of a personal question for you you know it’s going to be an exciting signing, it’s going to excite the fan base uh we got Chorley on Tuesday evening if you’re involved let’s assume, what’s going to be going through your mind there when you step across the white line back playing for a new shirt, chance to make an impression in front of a new set of fans, how’s that going to feel to you personally
Akwasi: Yeah um it’s it’s a something obviously I’ve been waiting a long time for you know as a football you just want to be out on the pitch um you don’t want to be sat at home or in the gym you know you want to you want to cross that white line and and and that’s what we play for and I’ve been in this situation many times I’ve had a few clubs if you look at my record, but I just can’t wait to put the shirt on and just you know show everyone and obviously prove I’ve got a lot to prove myself I feel like I’ve still got a lot to give to the game so um yeah I just want to get out there and play
1999–2003 – Neerlandia/SLTO
2003–2005 – Blauw-Wit Amsterdam
2005 – HFC Haarlem
2006–2008 – Wednesbury Sports Union
2008–2011 – Birmingham City
2011–2014 – Birmingham City – 1 game (0 goals)
2012 → Northampton Town (loan) – 4 games (1 goals)
2013 → Shrewsbury Town (loan) – 8 games (1 goals)
2014–2015 – Kidderminster Harriers – 11 games (0 goals)
2015–2017 – Solihull Moors – 73 games (33 goals)
2017–2018 – Grimsby Town – 9 games (1 goals)
2017 → Solihull Moors (loan) – 11 games (0 goals)
2018–2019 – Tamworth – 30 games (6 goals)
2018–2020 – Chester – 41 games (28 goals)
2020 Gloucester City – 10 games (8 goals)
2020–2023 – Chesterfield – 69 games (22 goals)
Total – 269 games (100 goals)
This is how fans reacted to the huge coup for Darlington as they sign ex-EFL turned non league player ‘too good for this level’…
@wxbster_: Rate signing for yous if you manage to keep him fit
@CarlHorner: Some player if we can get him back fit and firing, 100% a risk worth taking 👏🏻
@LynnoJay: Love that 😍😍😍
@KennethDodd6: Far too good for this level , he’ll score in every game he plays but will miss half the season with injuries.
@UpexLuke: never doubt sir josh gowlings pull 😍
@DextersDesciple: Glad he’s got a new club. He’ll be a hell of a player for you if I’d avoids another injury.
@davey2k23: This is a quality signing. He probably wouldn’t have come here if not for JG we’re lucky 🍀
@JoshHill1883: Some signing 😍 Up the Quakers 🤍🖤
@Cooky_35: Quality signing….. if he stays fit.
@Tom_Atkins107: Good luck Akwasi 👌 once a spireite always a spireite 💙
@phillipmoody18: This signing is just class
@darlo_will: How’s that happened
@RichardLilley6: Good luck Kwasi 👍
@alan_m_bennett: Oooh that’s a bit good 🥰
@gs_mcivor: Now that is a signing this is the difference in us staying in this league this season. ⚫️⚪️
@hufc_g: I’m so jealous this guys the best striker I’ve ever seen at this level
@DAWUK17: Play offs here we come 🚂💨
@Rennie__23: Up the league we go 🚀
@tom_breedon: Destroyed us every time we played against him. Absolutely mega signing this. No reason we should still be struggling for goals. Wrote Gowling off before but would love to be proven wrong. Uphill battle but more performances like Sat and this lad up top and it’s doable!
@linnet1976: That’s a great signing for them. Nice to have a proven goal scorer…….
@andyhoj: Well in the Board and Josh Gowling and Danny Rose.
@si_hahn89: A massive signing. Certainly worth the gamble. If hes fit he will score the goals to keep us up
— Sean Allen (@sean_allen3) November 14, 2023