The full story of Paddy Madden's move to Stockport County from Fleetwood Town
Striker Paddy Madden has left Fleetwood Town for Stockport County in a deal which chairman Andy Pilley says is in the best interests of all parties.
The Irishman has joined the National League club on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
The Gazette understands that Fleetwood were not actively seeking to sell the 31-year-old, but received an offer of around £250,000 for his services and felt the deal suited both parties.
The longer contract on offer at County worked for Madden to secure his future and the non-league club were able to offer him a very competitive wage.
Offloading their main striker is essentially just getting a jump on summer business as Town will look to reduce their wage bill, with a salary cap likely to return in some manner.
They also feel that wages in general have dropped off and they will be able to secure good talent for less than they would have been able to in recent years.
Madden was having to be patient recently as he tried to get back into an in form Fleetwood side, he missed a few games due to Covid and was seeing his minutes limited.
It’s not been the successful scoring season Town fans have been used to by their usual top goal scorer, nine goals in 36 games including two in his last 13.
Madden, scored 53 goals in 149 appearances for Fleetwood after joining the club from Scunthorpe United in January 2018. He is the club’s record goalscorer in EFL games with 43 strikes.
Pilley told the club website: “Paddy has been a fantastic player for Fleetwood Town Football Club and the decision to allow him to leave has been very difficult.
“Not only is he our record EFL goalscorer, but he’s also been a hugely popular character among the players, staff, and, of course, supporters.
“However, all good things come to an end at some point and it’s important we do what’s best for the future of the club.
“As a club, we have a big summer ahead and we intend to strengthen the squad, as well as continue to develop the huge talents we have coming through in our Under-23s and youth Academy.”
Rumours of Stockport’s shock approach emerged on Friday and were confirmed by Simon Grayson after the following day’s draw at Blackpool, when the Town head coach suggested the ball was in Madden’s court.
Pilley added: “Once the offer came in from Stockport, we spoke to Paddy to see how he felt about it all.
“He’s 31 now and taking into consideration his diminishing game-time in recent months we came to an agreement it would be a good time to shake hands, thank him and wish him well for the future.
“Paddy also made it clear the chance to sign a long-term contract was too much of a draw for him and his family, so it’s a deal which suits everyone.
“I’d personally like to thank Paddy for all his efforts and wish him well for the future.”
Madden was made captain when Simon Wiles became interim boss in January and then started Fleetwood’s first four games under Grayson, scoring in two of them.
His last start was in the draw with Charlton Athletic on February 20, when he scored Town’s equaliser.
Madden missed the next two games as one of three players struck down by coronavirus and was then unable to regain his place.
He came off the bench in the last four matches, including Saturday’s derby, as Grayson paired Ged Garner with loanee Kyle Vassell up front. Madden was under contract at Fleetwood until the end of next season.
The Irishman took to Twitter to show his thanks to the Cod Army faithful, he said: “Thank you everyone at Fleetwood Town for a great 3 years, loved every minute of it..
”Glad I got the chance to put a smile on your face. Met so many great people on and off the field and I wish the club nothing but success.”
Stockport have reported that Madden will immediately join in training and is available for tonight’s National League fixture against Barnet.
Manager Simon Rusk told his club’s website: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Paddy and I am delighted that he has accepted the challenge of helping this team and club grow.
“While his experience, and track record speaks for itself, I am drawn to his attitude and hunger for the game.
“When he walks into our dressing room, he will find similar spirits. We have a strong, together and like-minded group, and this is what makes Paddy a fantastic addition for us.”