Grimsby Town Football Club are delighted to announce the signing of attacking midfielder, James Tilley from Premier League side, Brighton & Hove Albion.
The 21-year-old joins us on an initial 18 month contract, after spending the first half of the 2019/20 campaign at National League side, Yeovil Town, helping them climb to second place in the table, 3 points behind leaders Barrow. Tilley has made a total of 21 appearances for The Glovers this season before his recall to Brighton & Hove Albion ahead of his transfer.
Tilley signed his first professional contract for the Seagulls in 2015 and went on to become a key player for the club’s under 23 side, captaining them on a regular occasion. Tilley made his professional debut for the club on the final day of the 2014/15 season, making a injury time substitute appearance away at Middlesbrough.
In total during his time at the club, Tilley made 4 first team appearances for the club, but was also top scorer in the 2016/17 season for the under-23’s with 13 goals and also helped the under-23’s achieve promotion in 2018.
Speaking exclusively to gtfc.co.uk, manager Ian Holloway spoke to us relating to his new addition. “He’s got a very nice family I know that because I went down to meet his Mum and Dad last Friday in Brighton”, said Ollie. “He’s a tad frustrated to be honest, he’s 21 years old, he comes from Brighton and a dream of theirs was for him to play in their first team. A couple of years ago, he almost got in around it with Chris Hughton, so I feel he is a victim of circumstance, they’re up and they’re staying up and now they’ve got a manager who knows some foreign markets so maybe they’re going to try and invest in some younger than him and make spaces for those young lads, so I think James is a very unlucky young gentlemen.
“I think he is a wonderful footballer, all the due diligence I have done on him, he is a wonderfully hard working young man so he will fit in with us a treat and our boys”, said Ollie. “I think he is worthy of wearing our shirt and he will bring something different to the table. He has got a wonderful left foot and he can play on the left or right or as a 10, he can play left wing-back, right wing-back and even if I wanted too, he can play as an attacking full-back like I have used before if I’m really going for it.”
Holloway was also high of praise of Tilley’s commitment to the club before setting foot in the area. “He is willing to learn, he has made a massive commitment to us already with the change in his salary, taking a lot less than he was on”, said Holloway. “He has committed to us for another 18 months and then an additional year in our favour which I think is absolutely commendable, I can’t wait to get my grubby little mitts on him and get him doing some of the stuff that I was doing with Blackpool.”
Holloway also had a few words about his excitement at Tilley walking out in front of the Mariners fans who have captured his heart already in his short period at the club. “He will have the wonderful privilege of playing for our supporters, who are absolutely outstanding I got to thank them personally for the welcome they’ve given Kim and myself”, said Holloway.
“The noise they make away from home it’s absolutely phenomenal, record breaking crowds like last weekend, I just want to thank you so much. I am only going to bring people here who will put their life on the line for you and try and bring you some joy. I work with a fella every day, Dave Smith who was a wonderful winger and I think I have brought you someone like him who can sell more dummies than Mothercare!”
Tilley will wear the number 21 shirt and will meet up with his team mates for the first time this week and will be eligible for selection for Ollie’s first home game in charge vs. Exeter City. You can book your tickets online via our online ticket store. You can also secure a ticket for the remainder of the season and receive a minimum of two games FREE when you order online by clicking HERE.