JACK Compton turned down four clubs to sign for Hartlepool United and new boss Colin Cooper.
The left-winger, released by Colchester at the end of last season, put pen to paper at Victoria Park yesterday to become Cooper’s first signing.
It sealed a reunion between the attacking player and ambitious manager who worked together in 2010 at Bradford City.
Back then, Compton was a bright midfield talent fresh from a stint at Falkirk and Cooper was caretaker boss of the Bantams.
And the 24-year-old said that the “Cooper factor” had everything to do with his decision to join the League Two promotion candidates.
“I turned down Plymouth, Shrewsbury, Dagenham & Redbridge and Bristol City to come and sign for Hartlepool and Colin Cooper,” Compton revealed.
“He was caretaker at Bradford where I was playing.
“We got on very well and he really progressed me as a player.
“The gaffer really got the best out of me and I was very upset the way he left Bradford – he was badly treated.
“But I’m glad he’s now got this opportunity by Hartlepool and I’m sure he’ll be very successful.”
The former West Brom youngster describes himself as an “out-and-out winger” and loves trying to beat the opposition full-backs.
“I’m positive with the ball,” he said. “There is no going backwards.
“I run at defenders and look to make things happen.
“I like to play with a bit of flair, get to the by-line and put crosses into the box and set up chances for my team-mates.”
Compton met up with his new team-mates yesterday, when the squad were given a presentation by Cooper.
Then it was off to Maiden Castle for more strenuous work.
The Cardiff-born wideman, who is happy on either flank, said he enjoyed day one.
“I’m really pleased to be here,” he said. “Everyone has bent over backwards to make me feel welcome.
“It was a bit of a bed-in day and I think it may be a bit harder today.
“We did some running and a bit of ball work too.
“Not a lot of clubs have the ball out on the first afternoon – you are normally running for the first couple of weeks!
“It was a nice surprise and it was a good day.
“It was great to meet the lads and they all looked in good shape.”
Compton has led something of a nomadic life as a professional footballer.
Born in Cardiff, he was in the Portsmouth Academy before starting his pro career at West Brom, though he did not play for the Baggies.
A run in non-league football with Weymouth, Lewes Havant & Waterlooville and Weston-Super-Mare followed.
After a brief spell at Brighton, his career picked up in 2010 when he joined Falkirk.
Over the last three years, he has made 73 appearances in the Scottish and English leagues with Falkirk, Bradford, St Johnstone, Portsmouth and Colchester.
On paper it may not inspire great confidence, but he says you should not judge a book by its cover.
“I have moved around not because I’ve fallen out with anyone or anything like that,” he said.
“A lot of my moves have been down to circumstances, whether it’s been a change of manager or the financial status of a club.
“For instance, Michael Appleton signed me for Portsmouth but by November he’s left for Blackpool.
“Different managers have their own ideas.
“I’m an out and out winger but some bosses might not want players like me or want their midfield set up differently.