STAGS SIGN ALFIE KILGOUR FROM BRISTOL ROVERS
Stags land centre-back
mansfieldtown.net, Thur 12 Jan 2023
Mansfield Town are delighted to announce the signing of centre-back Alfie Kilgour on an 18-month contract from Bristol Rovers for an undisclosed fee.
The 24-year-old made 119 appearances for Rovers in all competitions and was a part of the squad which gained promotion to Sky Bet League One in May last year.
Alfie has played 12 times in all competitions this season, scoring once.
As a youngster, the defender enjoyed successful loan spells at Maidenhead and Hungerford before returning to The Memorial Stadium to be a first team regular.
Alfie played 45 times across all competitions in 2019/20 and a further 44 in 2020/21 for the League One club which he joined as a seven-year-old.
The Bath-born centre-half joins Stags as the club’s first addition of the January 2023 transfer window as manager Nigel Clough bolsters his defensive options.
The boss told http://www.mansfieldtown.net: “We’re delighted that Alfie has joined us. He has a lot of experience in League One with Bristol Rovers and has been a part of their recent rise up the leagues.
“We’ve conceded too many goals this season and need a defender. Alfie’s a proper defender. One of the problems we’ve had is that we’ve had people play back there who aren’t natural defenders and he’s a natural defender.”
He added: “We’re very pleased, at his age, that he’s decided to come to Mansfield.”
Clough told iFollow Stags, Fri 13 Jan 2023
"He's whole-hearted, old-fashioned, head it and kick it, the two main qualities you need from your centre half and especially in League Two. He fits the model of who we're looking to bring in.
"Ollie Clarke said straight away what a whole-hearted and good lad he is.
"We're conscious we've played people slightly out of position. But he is an out and out centre half."
"We were bringing in Alfie Kilgour anyway, to add, because we knew we needed a defender. But with Oli (Hawkins) going, we've brought two defenders in (Kilgour and Callum Johnson)."
"There are very few centre halves on the market at the moment.
"We're very pleased we've been able to sign (Callum Johnson) (and Alfie Kilgour) and very pleased we've been able to do them in the middle of the window and not wait until the last week. Simon and David have been working very hard.
"We've got a lot of good experienced players. We have got enough experience within the squad, so the aim is that the players that we are bringing in now, probably one or two more in this window, will be a bit younger."
Alfie Kilgour told iFollow Stags, Thur 12 Jan 2023
"Absolutely delighted and can't wait to get started.
"The move has been in the offing quite a while. Early December there was rumour. Then I came and met the manager, went to the training ground, met up with my old teammate Ollie (Clarke), watched training briefly, it was prior to the Stevenage game.
"I thought that was an environment that I want to be part of.
"It was clear what the manager wants from me, he wants me to be a defender, a leader.
"It's a fresh start for me and my family. A new part of the world. The owner here is incredibly ambitious. The manager is ambitious."
"100% commitment on and off the pitch. I'm 100% committed to being a top professional.
"I enjoy an aggressive style of defending. I try and play but if I think we need to get up the pitch, I'll also do that.
"Back 4 or back 3 doesn't matter to me. I can play anywhere across the back 4.
"My first training session will be tomorrow (Friday)."
New Mansfield Town defender Alfie Kilgour excited to start new chapter in his career
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas
New Mansfield Town defender Alfie Kilgour is excited to start a new chapter in his career, having joined Stags from Bristol Rovers on Thursday, the club he had been at since the age of seven.
Kilgour, 24, has signed on an 18-month contract for an undisclosed fee after 119 appearances for Rovers in all competitions and was a part of the squad which gained promotion to League One in May last year.
“I am absolutely delighted and can't wait to get started,” he said.
“This has been going on for quite a while really. Early December there were rumours. Then I came and met the manager, went to the training ground, met up with my old team mate Ollie Clarke and watched training.
“It looked intense, the lads were at it. It looked definitely like an environment and place I would want to come. The set-up and facilities there are brilliant.
“Ollie was my captain at Bristol Rovers when I was a young lad coming up through. He had nothing but good and positive things to say about the club. So it was a no-brainer for me.”
He added: “The manager was clear what he wants from me. He wants me to be a defender and a leader, come and do what I do and try to lead the lads, being a defender first and foremost.
“Hopefully I can improve and flourish and have a successful time here. He wants to improve certain aspects of my game which is a key for me to kick on.
“It is a good squad here with good ages and good experience.”
On his time at Rovers, he said: “I came up through the academy, played 120 games and captained the side.
“I had a brilliant time there but this is the end of a chapter. It is a fresh start here for me and my family in a new part of the world and I am really excited.
“It wasn't a difficult decision. I wanted to come and try to play regular football somewhere different - a new challenge and new chapter.
“The owner here is incredibly ambitious as is the manager and the fans.
“For me to try to get another promotion under my belt and kick on up the leagues is massive and I can't think of a better place to do it.”
On his playing style, he said: “I will let the fans be the judge of me when they see me play, but I am 100 per cent committed on and off the pitch. I enjoy individual duels and an aggressive style of no-nonsense defending.
“I will try to play but if I feel we have to get up the pitch I will do that. I will give everything for Mansfield now. I can play anywhere across a back four and I feel the fittest I have ever been.”
Joey Barton reveals the reason why Alfie Kilgour had to leave Bristol Rovers
bristolworld.com, By Will Taylor
Joey Barton said that Alfie Kilgour had to leave Bristol Rovers to better his career after his departure to Mansfield Town. The 24 year-old has left his boyhood club to join the Stags for an undisclosed fee, bringing to an end his 17-years of service.
Kilgour will be linking up with former Rovers captain and fellow academy graduate Ollie Clarke as he signs for the League Two side on an 18-month deal.
The defender featured frequently for past managers, however fell out of favour with Barton, making eleven appearances last season, and eight so far this season. Rovers have been far from secure defensively this season, and find themself with the third worst defensive record in the league yet despite lots of switches in the back line, Kilgour has been unable to break into the squad.
Barton said: “He’s a fantastic lad, trains properly everyday, always working on his game, it’s just some of the things we like to see in defenders he just comes up a little bit short of for me,” said Barton.
“The ludicrous position of we’re all over the gaff defensively, and as I say it’s just not fair to keep him here. I know he cares about the quartered jersey, he’s a massive Bristolian and has been a great servant at the club but we’ve got to find that missing ingredient in our back line.
“As I say Alf isn’t it and we have to let him go and let him continue his pathway because he’s capable of playing, there was a lot of interest in him in League Two and League One.”
After almost two decades at the club, Kilgour penned an emotional statement, thanking the fans and everybody associated with the football club. Breaking into the first team squad under Graham Coughlan, then continuing to get regular games under Ben Garner and Paul Tisdale, the hiring of Joey Barton seemed to be the beginning of the end for the defender, who seemed unable to fit into the manager’s plans.
“He’s been chomping at the bit to play, Alf. We’ve had trials and tribulations in the backline but we didnt feel like he was the antidote. If he’s not the antidote now, when is he ever going to be?”
“That happens in football sometimes, and you have to be men about it, have grown up conversations. If you’re not going to turn to them in times of crisis then certainly you can’t hold their careers back.”
Mansfield Town currently find themselves ninth in League Two, only outside the playoff places on goal difference and Kilgour will surely be looking to make it back to back promotions.
Kilgour did receive interest from League One clubs, but given they would be selling directly to a rival, Rovers did not want to strengthen their team, without receiving a fee to compensate them for that. As a result, Kilgour has had to drop down a division, but is likely to play regularly.
He added: “We felt that it wouldn’t be right to let him go into League One without a significant fee, the teams that were interested in him didn’t want to do that. Thankfully for us the sides in League Two could give us the compensation we were looking for.”
Alfie Kilgour leaves Rovers for Mansfield Town
bristolrovers.co.uk, Thur 12 Jan 2023
Alfie Kilgour has left Rovers for Mansfield Town.
Defender Alfie Kilgour has today joined Mansfield Town for an undisclosed fee.
Kilgour has signed an 18-month deal at Field Mill, bringing his 17-year Rovers career to an end. Alfie played a total of 118 games for the Gas, scoring seven goals.
Alfie, 24, joined Rovers aged seven and enjoyed loan spells at Mangotsfield United, Cirencester Town, Hungerford Town and Maidenhead United. After breaking into the first team under Graham Coughlan, Alfie made his Rovers debut in March 2019, coming on as a late substitute in a 1-0 away victory against Gillingham.
At the end of the 2018/19 season, Alfie was awarded the 'Development Squad Player of the Season.' Kilgour's first goal for Rovers was in the EFL Trophy against Leyton Orient in December 2019. In February 2020, Alfie was awarded the League One goal of the month award after a stunning 30-yard-strike against Blackpool.
Club Chairman, Wael Al-Qadi has wished Alfie nothing but success for his next adventure:
“On a personal level, I’ve seen Alfie transform from our Academy into a first-team League One player and it’s been a pleasure watching one of our own develop into the man he’s become. The moment he carried me on his shoulders and bashed my head through the dressing-room ceiling following our promotion victory over Scunthorpe last season will live forever in my memory. I wish Alfie nothing but success and happiness for the future.”
On his departure from Rovers, Alfie said:
"My 17-year affiliation with Bristol Rovers ends today and I would like to thank them for giving me the platform to fulfil my boyhood dream. From the early days to present I have always had tremendous support.
I would like to thank the loyal fans for their unwavering support, which meant so much to me in the good and difficult times, I would like to thank everyone behind the scenes, kit men, chefs, stewards, to name a few and Daryle and all his wonderful ground staff, I applaud you all.
I have been fortunate to play with some great players managers and coaches, many of who I still talk to and who will be friends for life. A special mention to Adam Tutton, who gave me the opportunity to be a Players Ambassador for the Community Trust, which brought me great pride, especially in the Covid season, as it enabled me to get out into the community and make a difference within our fanbase.
My journey now continues with a new challenge, one I am very excited about, a new location, a new club dynamic, all things that are part of a footballer’s journey and one that I will embrace and thrive from. I am looking forward to bringing value to Mansfield Town FC. I will be kept up to speed from my friends and family who will still be on the terraces at The Mem.
I wish you all the health and happiness for you and your families.”
Everyone at Bristol Rovers Football club would like to wish Alfie the very best of luck in the next chapter of his career.
John Radford @JRadfordMTFC
Very pleased to welcome our first new addition of the transfer window; a highly-rated centre-half, 24, with a good pedigree in League One.
Ollie Clarke @ollieclarke29
Welcome on board Alf
David Sharpe @DavidSharpe91
Active couple of days! All the best to Hawks with his move and great to have Alfie Kilgour and @callumjohnson96 with us! 17 days of the window left….#MTFC
Exeter City among three EFL clubs interested in signing Bristol Rovers stalwart
bristolpost.co.uk, By James Piercy, Sports Editor, 4 JAN 2023
Bristol Rovers defender Alfie Kilgour has fallen down the centre-back hierarchy and looks set to leave his boyhood club this month
Exeter City plus League Two Mansfield Town and Colchester United are the clubs to have shown an early interest in signing Alfie Kilgour from Bristol Rovers, Bristol Live understands, as Joey Barton looks to tweak and upgrade his squad this month.
Barton admitted at the end of December that Kilgour, who joined Rovers' academy when he was eight, could be moving on from the Gas having made just five starts all season and with the need to reinforce his defence over the second half of the campaign.
The centre-back is the longest-serving player at the club having made 119 appearances since his debut in March 2019, but after an injury-riddled season in 2021/22 has found opportunities limited following the loan arrivals of Lewis Gibson and Bobby Thomas.
With six months still on his contract signed in 2020, the Rovers academy product’s potential exit this month will not only allow him to try and win more first-team opportunities elsewhere, as his promising career has stalled in BS7, but also free up some salary space for Barton to bring in new players.
Kilgour and midfielder Zain Westbrooke, who joined in the same summer of Kilgour’s renewal and also remains on a good League One contract, are the obvious expendable members of Barton’s squad as they have been on the periphery throughout 2022/23.
Although creating salary space is an intention this month, Rovers’ preference is for a sale, and with Exeter City and at least one other League One club interested, the Gas believe they can extract some kind of fee for the 24-year-old. Although whether that is possible with the centre-back a free agent this summer remains to be seen.
Kilgour’s preference would be to remain in League One but, equally, the defender just wants to play regular first-team football and a promotion candidate in League Two, such as Mansfield could also appeal should terms be agreeable. Coincidentally, home to former Gas stalwart OIlie Clarke who is captain of the Stags.
Nigel Clough’s side, the Grecians and Colchester have all made their interest known with other suitors also set to come to light as the situation develops and clubs assess their needs and what is possible over the next four weeks.
Although Kilgour’s potential exit would leave Barton a defender light, he has already confirmed he wishes to add at least one player in that area of the field and it’s become increasingly apparent that the Bath-born defender isn’t in his plans for the starting XI.
As has been the case throughout the three transfer windows under Barton and head of football operations Eddy Jennings, Rovers’ desire is to emerge at the end of the window in a stronger state than when they entered it with designs on a play-off bid.
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