• Bradley White

Long Eaton striker Gale seals Mansfield Town move

Long Eaton United forward James Gale has signed a professional contract with Mansfield Town and will be part of their under-23s’ squad.

Gale caught the attention of the Stags with his exceptional start to the season, scoring four goals and providing three assists in the Blues’ opening four matches.

First team manager Ian Deakin revealed the ins and outs of the move, he said: “James Gale was tracked by several professional clubs, all keen to fight for his signature. Mansfield were one of the clubs that came in for him and he was offered a contract last week.”

“He was at Derby County’s academy as a young man, so he has great pedigree, and coming out into non-league, he has really stood out to Mansfield.”

James Gale scores against Skegness.

Deakin envisages a great future for the promising 19-year-old, he added: “We wish him well and we want him to go on and do great things. And I firmly believe that he will go on to do big things – Mansfield have inherited a very exciting, young, attacking player with many different attributes.

“I cannot wait to see how he progresses over the next year or so and would love to see him in a Mansfield Town first team shirt very soon.

“Everyone at Long Eaton United is delighted, it is great for us. The club is producing good, young players and we want them to go on and do really well.”

A product of Long Eaton United’s community FC Academy, Gale was promoted to the first team towards the end of last season, with four substitute appearances in the FA Vase.

In the off-season back in May 2021, Gale made nine appearances in the CFC’s invincible title win, where he found the back of the net seven times to fire the team to promotion.

As Gale rejoined the first team for pre-season, he became a regular starter for Deakin and stole the headlines with outstanding performances in the United Counties League and Emirates FA Cup.

Deakin acknowledged how important the move is for Long Eaton United, he commented: “It is something the club is very proud of, the move is a product of all the work that the chairman Jim Fairley and director Nick Dargan have put in.

"Gale played for Long Eaton United’s junior teams as well, so the youth coaches deserve credit too, along with Paul Holland for the work he does at the academy.”

Deakin then reflected on Gale’s development and progression to the first team, he said: “We gave him a platform to succeed and do well. He has put in a lot of hard work, and that is something that saw him progress rapidly in terms of his ability and the way he has conducted himself – he has a great temperament on and off the pitch.”

“He just loves playing football and I think that everyone at the club deserves massive credit as part of the journey for him, from the different stages as a young junior just starting out, all the way through, they have all had a part to play.

“We put the final pieces together, Swinny [Craig Swinscoe], Lefty [Adam Campbell] and Boydy [Neil Boyd]. We must give a special mention to Neil Boyd, because as soon as he saw him, he said the kid’s a player, so we were all in agreement to bring him through to the first team.

“It is fantastic, really exciting times for him and his family. We all wish him well.”