Grimsby Town Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of former FC Halifax Town captain, Niall Maher on a two-year deal, commencing July 1st.
The 26-year-old centre-back was named in the Vanarama National League Team of the Season following the club’s impressive campaign, contributing to the tightest defence in the League throughout the 2021/22 season. Maher spent four-and-a-half years with the Shaymen, captaining the side for the previous campaign.
Beginning his career at Bolton Wanderers, Niall progressed through the ranks of the club from the age of 7. Following a loan spell at Championship side Blackpool in 2015, Maher made his professional debut for Bolton in April 2016 in the Championship at the age of 20. Following the expiration of his contract at Bolton in 2016, the defender spent a year at Bury in League One, making 22 appearances in all competitions before making the move across to Ireland in 2017. After a short spell at Telford United, Maher made the move to FC Halifax Town in 2018, where he spent the next four years, making over 150 appearances in all competitions.
Maher spoke exclusively to gtfc.co.uk this afternoon after penning his contract with the club and could not hide his excitement at joining the Mariners.
“I am absolutely delighted to be here. It’s been four and a half years coming, getting back into the Football League. I have spoken to the manager about his intentions and ambitions for next season and it was a no-brainer, we got it over the line very quickly, quicker than I expected!
“I am a ball-playing centre-half. I am very comfortable in possession, I don’t mind defending because that’s my first and foremost job! The fans are going to expect a ball-playing centre-half who is aggressive and can get around the pitch quick and a player with a lot of confidence”.
After a fantastic season for the Shaymen, Maher attracted attention from a number of clubs and spoke of what attracted him to the Mariners.
” It’s the size of the club. The ambitions and the goals of the club and in myself, it has been a long time coming, I have had opportunities in the past to play in the Football League, but I don’t think it has ever been the right move and after playing against Grimsby last season, the fanbase, the attractive style of play, they always made it a difficult game.
“Obviously seeing the success they had in the Play-offs kind of spurred me on, we both have had successful seasons, me personally and Grimsby Town as a club, so when I spoke to the manager, I kind of said what my ambitions and goals were and we were the same, so it was an absolute no brainer to come here. I want to get my feet under the table here, stamp my authority down on what I can do and how I can help the team and then whether the manager picks me straight away, I will be giving 110% at all times and I cannot wait to build a strong relationship with everyone here.”
We also spoke to Paul Hurst this afternoon, who gave us his thoughts on his first summer acquisition.
“I am delighted to sign Niall. It was a relatively easy deal to do once we made contact with each other. I think he is excited about the prospect of joining us and I am delighted to have him on board.
“He was pretty much an ever-present for Halifax who had a good season themselves, he was also part of that backline that was the best defence in the League and then was voted in the National League Team of the Season so he clearly caught the eye of other people as well so I think it’s a good signing for us.
“He had some other options but wanted the opportunity in the League and at the club that he was obviously impressed with from playing against us. He is a defender who reads the game very well, has composure in his play, he will compete but I think he reads situations and get ahead of the attackers in terms of using his brain and he always looked calm when I watched him, which is a good quality to have as a defender.”
You can join Niall and the 3,000 Mariners who have already committed for the 2022/23 campaign and purchase a season ticket online by clicking here.
Welcome to Blundell Park, Niall!