Published 16th June 2011
....piece of his attacking jigsaw after signing Wimborne Town’s £10,000 man James Stokoe – for free!
Riley announced the capture of the out-of-contract forward after fighting off competition for his services earlier this week.
Stokoe hit the headlines in February when Magpies slapped a hefty five-figure price tag on his head following interest from a host of rival clubs including Bash and Poole Town.
Riley was a known admirer and had twice unsuccessfully tried to lure Stokoe to the Recreation Ground.
Riley, who admitted the swoop had made it third time lucky, confirmed Stokoe had been snapped up for no fee as his Cuthbury deal expired at the end of last season.
The versatile new recruit is set to be utilised in his favoured striking role, having often played in midfield during his time at Wimborne.
Riley thinks Stokoe will fit the bill and combine well with star frontman Mark Gamble in the Zamaretto Premier.
He said: “I’m looking forward to working with him.
“Since Ryan Moss and Richard Gillespie left, options up front have been a bit hit and miss.
“We have been playing Mark Gamble with A N Other, whether it has been Dave Allen or somebody else up there with him.
“I think James and Mark Gamble will complement each other. It gives us an opportunity to, maybe, play Dave Allen a bit deeper, where I think he is more effective.”
Riley added: “We had been after James for a while. He is a good player – experienced – and has developed his football over the past few seasons and been a good servant at Wimborne.
“He has got the right pedigree and it is a good challenge for him – it is always nice to have a fresh challenge. He is relishing the challenge of playing at a higher level.
“He is going to get an opportunity with us and I know he is looking forward to it, and we are as well.”
Former AFC Bournemouth trainee Stokoe was part of the Wimborne team that earned promotion to the Zamaretto League, only to endure a tough debut campaign in Division One South & West last term.
Magpies vice-chairman Paul Miller said: “We offered him a contract but Bashley came in and he found that a more attractive offer.
“He served the club well and helped us achieve promotion. We wish him well.
“We’re really disappointed to lose James and would have loved to have kept him.”