Hartlepool United transfer target Jon Mellish has revealed the reasons why he turned down a move to the National League
The 21-year-old pen-to-paper on a one-year deal (with an option) at Carlisle United, after becoming one of non-league football’s most prized assets over the last year.
With Pools, the likes of Wrexham, Grimsby Town and Bristol Rovers all took a look at the defender but it was the Cumbrian outfit who came out on top.
The move rounds off a remarkable 12 months for the South Shields-born centre-back.
After spending time on loan at Northern League club Newcastle Benfield during the 2017/18 season, Mellish became a regular in the Gateshead side that narrowly missed out on a National League play-off place and his form led to him receiving a call-up to the England C squad.
And to cap off an impressive campaign, he was named as the Non-League Paper’s Young Player of the Year at their annual National Game Awards on Tuesday afternoon.
"I’ve got the feel for it and to see the size of the ground and the way things are done at Carlisle, I just can’t wait to get started," said Mellish.
“Once I had been in to speak to the gaffer (Steven Pressley) I knew it was the right step because he told me what the ambitions are for the new season.
“It’s the perfect move for me because I want to keep on developing as a player and the manager used to be a defender, so I can learn from him.
“It’s the same as it was with Steve Watson and Ben Clark at Gateshead.
“They both played as defenders at a higher level and I took a lot from both of them.
“It’s been a mad season and it’s been one thing after another to be honest but most of it has been positive.
“Getting the Non-League Paper award on Tuesday was amazing and it was unexpected but was a real boost to be recognised.
“Now, this move tops off a great season.”
Mellish’s agent Martyn Speight confirmed that the youngster had been the subject of significant interest from the Football League and National League but believes that a move to Carlisle is the right one.
He said “The next club was going to be critical in his development.
“The level of interest wasn’t a surprise because he has had a very good season in very difficult circumstances at Gateshead.
“He was given an opportunity to progress there and he took it.
“Carlisle fit well because of the manager, the facilities and they ticked the boxes.
“We went over to meet Steven Pressley and he told us that Jon was a player he had watched on numerous occasions.
“This move just feels right for Jon and he is now ready for the next stage in his development.”
Mellish leaves Gateshead after making 58 appearances for the Tynesiders and becomes the first member of last season’s squad to find a new club this summer.