Belfast Telegraph

Former Arsenal ace Randall determined to win prizes with Larne

Super strike: Mark Randall (left) after scoring against Warrenpoint
Super strike: Mark Randall (left) after scoring against Warrenpoint

By Graham Luney

New Larne signing Mark Randall says the team spirit at Inver Park is the best he has ever experienced.

That's quite a statement given that the midfielder started his career at Arsenal and went on to play for a host of other clubs including Burnley, MK Dons and Crawley. He also had a spell in Italy with Ascoli.

Midfielder Randall will be a key figure for Tiernan Lynch's side when they host David Jeffrey's Ballymena United in a derby today.

The 29-year-old has already become a firm favourite scoring twice in his opening two league games and they weren't exactly run of the mill goals. The first last weekend was a wonder strike from 45 yards in a 6-0 home victory over Warrenpoint Town and the second on Tuesday was a classy free-kick which proved to be decisive in Larne's 2-1 success away to Carrick.

Many Larne fans believe his midfield partnership with Jeff Hughes will be crucial for them this term.

He revealed that he decided to make the move to Larne after training with the players at the end of last season adding that he has come to Inver Park to win silverware.

"Sometimes in football things don't go the way you would want them to and I was slipping down the leagues and floating around League One and League Two and wasn't getting anywhere," Randall told the Cool FM Football show.

"I left Crawley. The manager didn't have me in his plans and I came to Larne for a week at the end of last season to train to see what I thought of the place and the boys were unbelievable to me and that was a big part of me signing here.

"There's an excitement around the place about where the club wants to go and I want to sit down at the end of my career with some medals and I think this is one of the clubs over here that you can do that with."

Having been living in the town for a few months and part of Lynch's squad he is relishing his time in Northern Ireland.

"I love it. I've settled in really well. The boys are unbelievable and the team spirit is the best I've ever had I think out of every club I've been to," said Randall.

"I'm enjoying every second and am really happy."

Randall joined the Gunners as a schoolboy and spent five years there up to 2011. In that time he worked under Arsene Wenger and played in the Champions League.

"It never worked out for me there but Arsene Wenger was an unbelievable manager," he said.

Larne will go into the match on top of the table with six points out of six. United have one point but have only played one game - a 2-2 draw away to Dungannon Swifts.

A big crowd is expected at Inver Park for what should be a cracking contest.

Belfast Telegraph


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