Newly promoted AFC Fylde have made their third signing of the close season after completing a deal for winger Jonathan Ustabasi from rivals Chorley, with the deal announced on the club’s official website.
The 29-year-old has signed a one-year deal, with an option of a further year. Ustabasi joins the Coasters as a free agent following the expiry of his contract at Victory Park.
Ustabasi joins fellow new signings Kieran Glynn who arrived from Scarborough Athletic and former Buxton goalkeeper Theo Richardson. The Coasters have also tied midfielder Nick Haughton, voted National League North player of the season, to a new two year deal.
Fylde enjoyed a superb season, sealing a return to the National League after beating Kings Lynn to the National League North title. Impressive manager Adam Murray guided the Lancashire club to promotion after taking over from controversial former boss, James Rowe in November. Murray was previously Valerian Ismael’s assistant at Barnsley, West Brom and Beşiktaş.
Who Is Jonathan Ustabasi?
The winger was born in Manchester and started his career in Turkey and played for the likes of Bursaspor and Fethiyespor and he also had a spell in North Macedonia with FC Shkupi, before eventually returning to England to play for StalyBridge.
He joined Chorley in the summer of 2021 and in 2022/23 enjoyed a successful season scoring 15 goals, including one against Fylde at Mill Farm on Boxing Day.
What Was Said?
Fylde’s Director of Football Chris Beech said: “Jonathan joins us off the back of a successful season with our neighbours Chorley FC.
“Jonathan, at 29, plays football like he’s 21 with a direct mentality, physicality, and speed.
“His direct running, supported by an eye for goal, are attributes that will support our current attacking options, making us quicker overall in transition and harder to predict as a team.
“His work rate and high-pressing techniques will endear him to his teammates and supporters alike.”
Fylde fans will be familiar with Ustabasi’s ability and saw first hand what he was capable of on Boxing Day, when he fired home a late winner to seal the points for Chorley at Mill Farm.
Fylde and Chorley have developed a Lancashire rivalry in recent years and the capture of Ustabasi has already been greeted with approval from the Fylde faithful on social media.
Fylde are an ambitious club and in 2018/19 the club were just 90 minutes away from the EFL, but were beaten by Salford City in the play off final at Wembley. The Coasters returned to the national stadium just a week later though and won the FA Trophy, beating Leyton Orient.
After relegation the following season, when the league programme was cut short due to Covid,Fylde missed out on promotion losing to Boston United in the playoffs in 21/22, but they made no mistake this time around under new boss Murray.
With three new additions already, Fylde fans will be hopeful of further early summer activity as the club has a history of doing its business as quickly as possible and they could be dark horses for another promotion.