Youl Mawene is delighted to have become Fleetwood Town’s tenth summer signing but has mixed feelings about joining the club’s Preston connection.
On becoming the fourth former Deepdale player to have joined promoted Town – following Conor McLaughlin, Barry Nicholson and Jon Parkin – the centre-half quipped: “It’s not really a good thing when you arrive at a club and you know everyone – it shows your age.”
The Lytham-based Frenchman turned 33 a fortnight ago and is glad to be back in the North-West after spreading his wings over the past two seasons at Greek club Panserraikos and Aberdeen.
He had spent the previous decade in England, following four seasons at Derby County (a Premier League club when he joined) with six at Preston, where he made 174 appearances.
“I’ve been based in the North West for eight years,” he explained. “For the last couple I have been running around away from my family, but I’m glad to be back in an area where I feel very comfortable.”
So comfortable that he was happy to be thrown in at the deep end at Fleetwood, appearing as a second-half substitute against Oldham on Friday within hours of signing.
He added: “It happened really quickly and I’m really delighted to be here and looking forward to the start of season.
“It’s a good group and Jamie Milligan is a personal friend. Now I want to get stuck in with the boys and I’m looking forward to a good season.
“I hope to bring a little experience from the League and it’s important to get the balance right. If I can help the team by any means and take responsibility I will.”
Having started his career with French club Lens, for whom he played against Arsenal in a UEFA Cup semi-final, Mawene finds himself back in Scotland after being released from Pittodrie at the end of last season. He has since had trials with Town’s League Two rivals Burton and Morecambe before arriving at Highbury.
And he has no doubt he has made a good choice: “This club has had tremendous success over the years in terms of its infrastructure and the way the team has played.
“I’m well delighted to be associated with Fleetwood and I’m hoping to add to all the hard work done over the years.”