JON Kennedy wouldn't want to be anywhere else than Accrington Stanley - and was relieved to get a phone call from the management to ask him to come back to the club.
The goalkeeper failed to agree terms last summer with the Reds and has been on trial at Doncaster Rovers and Stanley's opening day opponents Burton Albion.
But he admitted there was only one club he wanted to be at this season - and there was no hesitation when the Stanley management phoned him last Saturday.
"I had been watching Sky to keep track of Accrington's friendly results and always wanted to come back," said Kennedy, who could be the England National XI number one this season now he is back in the Conference. We didn't agree terms in the summer but there was never any bad feeling.
"There was one interview in a national non league paper where it looked like I was bitter or having a dig at the club but there was never anything like that. If there had been, I wouldn't have come back and John (Coleman) and Jimmy (Bell) wouldn't have wanted me back," said the goalie who is now looking for a house in Hyndburn.
"We just couldn't agree terms then and that happens in football. There was a message on my voicemail last Saturday and I did wonder what Coley wanted. Then when he spoke to me I was just so pleased and, after the contract talks dragging on for months in the summer, it has been sorted out in three days and I was signed up by Monday.
"It feels better than when I signed the first time last year because then it was just three days before the first game of the season and everything was rushed. Now I can get involved in pre-season - it is a better feeling."
The 23-year-old has done a good pre-season at Coca Cola One side Doncaster and played two games for Burton Albion - Stanley's opponents a week on Saturday in their first Conference fixture.
"I would much rather be playing for Accrington than against them. I never really wanted to do that," said Kennedy who has signed a one-year deal with a one year option.
And he is pleased to be meeting up with his old team-mates again.
"I spoke to a few of them at the friendly at Prescot Cables and it was good to see them again. There wasn't any awkwardness. They are a good set of lads with a good team spirit and the squad has been strengthened. I think the suspensions hit us hard last season and now we have a bigger, stronger squad and should do well."
But one team he is relieved about not playing again is Telford - he conceded five against them at home last season and they have now been reformed in a lower league. "That is one good thing. I didn't want to play them again," he smiled.
Coleman said: "Jon never wanted to leave in the first place. We have ironed out one or two things and we are glad to have him back."
And, after snapping up Kennedy, former Barnsley shot-stopper Danny Alcock, who has featured in a number of pre-season games, has also signed a deal with Stanley. He will be rivalling Kennedy for the number one jersey. It means Stanley won't be signing ex-York keeper Mark Ovendale.
And the Reds have also added left sided player Stuart Bimson to the squad on a month's loan with a view to a permanent deal. The 34-year-old Liverpool-born defender played under former Burnley boss Stan Ternent at Bury and has been the captain at Lincoln and Cambridge. The Reds already have two left backs in new signing Stuart Howson and Steve Hollis.
"I have known Stuart a long time," said the boss. "He brings a lot of experience, he is hungry and he will add competition for places."
Stanley fans could get their first look at Bimson in their penultimate pre-season friendly at Southport on Saturday.
The Conference North side are managed by former Stanley player Liam Watson and have in their ranks another former Red, Jerome Fitzgerald, who was released from Stanley in the summer.
"That should be a big test for us as they have had a good pre-season and are one of the favourites to win the Conference North this season."
A few of the pre-season trialists have now left Stanley but Coleman hasn't ruled out any more additions to his squad as the Reds bid to regain their Football League status. "If anyone else pops up who we need to take, then we will take them."
Meanwhile, the Reds boss is looking forward to their opening Nationwide Conference clash at home against Burton followed by a trip to his former club Morecambe on Tuesday, 17 August.
"I am glad we got a home game first but it doesn't really matter who you play as you have got to play everybody," said Coleman. "Historically opening games are usually tight as people are finding their feet and looking to get a solid start. But we will be ready."
- As the Observer went to press Accrington Stanley hadn't heard if they were going to get fined by the Football Association over their poor disciplinary record last season. They could be fined up to £10,000 after appearing before the FA last week.