FREE-SPENDING Aldershot Town boss Terry Brown has released his purse strings once again to sign Peterborough United wing back Dean Hooper — a move which means that fans favourite Lee Protheroe has played his last game for the club.
Brown jumped in quickly to land top target Hooper — a 31-year-old right sided player, who has played over 100 Football League games for Posh, several of which as captain.
But Protheroe will pass him on his way out of the Shots doorway after stalling on an offer for an extended deal for the last three weeks.
Hooper is Brown's third signing in the space of a week, following goalkeeper Nicky Bull and Woking striker Roscoe D'sane in the Aldershot ranks.
But ironically, Hooper was the first player that Brown ever sold on as manager of Hayes when he accepted a lucrative offer from Swindon Town for the tough-tackling, no-nonsense utility man.
Since that day ten years ago, Hooper left the County Ground to play for Kingstonian, where he helped them lift the Ryman League premier division title before going back into the prol game to join Peterborough.
Hooper ended last season on loan at Dagenham & Redbridge before Barry Fry released him last week and Brown stepped in to haul him back under his directorship - and from under the nose of Woking boss Geoff Chapple.
The boss said: "Dean is a fiery, highly-motivated player, who, in my opinion, has everything required from a wing back. He is a quick, strong, no-nonsense player, who also has pace and is a good crosser.
"Not only that, but because of his fiery nature, he won't be bullied, and that will give us that extra competitive streak. He's a winner with a great engine, who will frighten the life out of most wingers. I think Dean will be a valuable asset to our football club."
Meanwhile, though, Protheroe is waking up to life without Aldershot Town this week after a two-year spell at the Rec. Protheroe's sweet right boot made him a favourite with the fans with Beckham-esque free kicks becoming his forte.
Protheroe was offered a new deal to stay at the Rec and week away to think things through. But even after spending a week away on holiday, Protheroe never got back to the boss, and before he knew it, Hooper became available.
Brown added: "Lee went away to think about the offer but we never heard anything. I know he had been talking to other clubs. In the interim, I of course, had to put contingency plans into place and was speaking to other players.
"Unfortunately, without being nasty about it, these offers are not unconditional. I didn't have time to hang around and unfortunately for Lee, Dean became available at the same time and I had to act fast. I do wish him well, however."
Meanwhile, Brown has also revealed for the first time that on-loan left winger Chris Allen has been released.
The boss admitted he forgot to speak of Allen's future at the Rec because he was a non-contract player, unlike the six other players let go by Brown three weeks ago.
Brown commented: "The players I sign are strong and experienced with good attitudes and winning CV's or young and hungry boys desperate to make it into the big time. Unfortunately Allen didn't fit into any of those categories.
"Roscoe D'sane might not have the pace of Allen but he has the same tricks and ability and is the younger man.
"Chris Allen is an exciting player but the truth is, he didn't quite do enough for me in the time he had at Aldershot. He's a lovely fellow, however, and I hope he finds a new club soon."
And to top off a busy week in the transfer window, not only just at the Rec, but elsewhere, Brown has revealed that news of a former Shot moving in, is premature to say the least.
Details have been released that Owen Coll has signed for Aldershot's title rivals next season, Grays Athletic - joining several other high-profile names in a busy summer of activity at the Recreation Ground.
But Coll is still to sign his release forms at the Rec and no deal can be done until all relevant paperwork is complete. Brown also insists that no confirmation has come through regarding the transfer.
To combat the loss of Coll, Ryan Kirby and Leon Townley, Brown goes in search of forming a defensive unit this week with a key signing expected between now and the end of the week.
Brown is also looking to bring in a high-profile striker, rumoured to be Lee Charles from Nuneaton Borough, in the next few days.
But if Brown's done anything at all this week, he's proved he won't be messed with. Like Protheroe, Stafford Browne has had time to think over an extended offer and if he doesn't react quick enough when returning from a two-week holiday, he could find himself in the same situation.
Aldershot Town are pleased to annouce a few additional games to their pre-season schedule. They are: Yeading (a) on July 16, Met Police (a) on July 23, the big one at Farnborough Town on July 30 (see Boro report below) and details of the Kingstonian tournament on July 13/14 which includes matches with Darlington, Brentford and Kingstonian.
See Friday's News for full revised list.