CONOR Washington was ‘destined’ to be a professional footballer, said his former teammate Junior McDougald on learning the news that the 20-year-old had signed for Blue Square Bet Premier side Newport County.
The former Tottenham Hotspur trainee McDougald, who also played for Brighton & Hove Albion and Dagenham & Redbridge, used to lace the current Newport manager Justin Edinburgh’s boots when he was a trainee at White Hart Lane – and he thinks Washington has what it takes to shine in the Football League’s feeder division.
“I was Justin’s boot boy at Tottenham,” said McDougald. “Justin will be good for Conor, he has good man management skills.
“They have found a good lad – Conor was destined to be a pro and will go on a do that now.
“If it doesn’t work out, then he can always come back – but Newport are a good club and he could be playing in the Football League next season.
“I’m sure all the clubs in the UCL are thinking ‘thank goodness he’s gone’.”
Washington scored 52 goals in 50 games for St Ives Town last season and has scored another 11 this time around.
Following trials with Peterborough United and Dagenham & Redbridge during the summer, the striker almost signed for Cambridge United, but that move broke down after he failed a medical at The Abbey Stadium.
There were no such problems last weekend and he signed a contract until the end of next season with the Welsh club on Monday morning.
The fee is undisclosed but The Hunts Post understands St Ives will receive staggered payments linked to the youngsters’ progress. If Washington does well at Newport and earns a move further up the football ladder, the UCL club could get a further injection of cash.
But St Ives joint manager Jez Hall has always insisted that it’s what is good for Washington that’s important – not the club. He said: “Justin Edinburgh was interested when he was the manager of Rushden & Diamonds and Conor has had a few advisors in recent weeks and the word got to Justin that he was available – and it all kicked in to place.”
Edinburgh told the South Wales Argus: “It is at a lower level but there are some rough diamonds out there and he fits the bill.
“I think it’s a good time for us to bring him in with no expectation on him.
“There will obviously be a transitional period coming from being a postman to full time footballer but he’s got all the attributes.
“Every signing you make is a gamble but I back my own judgment. He’s got an eye for goal and I think he’s worth it.”
On Monday evening Washington’s Twitter account was inundated with good luck messages – including one from Godmanchester Rovers joint manager Nev Nania who said: “Right decision mate, you will blend well with the new team.”
Another, from St Ives striker Scott Fielding, read: “Who’s gonna deliver my post now! Great news mate.”