Get to know Peterborough's United's latest signing- Non-league's 'best player'

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Altrincham fans have spoken of their ‘heartbreak’ at the move.

There is absolutely no surprise to see a new face in the door at Posh from non-league,

Chris Conn-Clarke will be hoping to become the latest star that has launched his career in the Football League after being given a chance by Posh.

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While Posh have become known for finding some of non-league’s more hidden gems- most recently the likes of Ephron Mason-Clark and Jack Taylor- slightly unusually for some of Posh’s recent successes, Conn-Clarke arrives with a big reputation.

Chris Conn-Clarke signing his Posh contract. Photo: Joe Dent.Chris Conn-Clarke signing his Posh contract. Photo: Joe Dent.
Chris Conn-Clarke signing his Posh contract. Photo: Joe Dent.
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Peterborough United have pipped bigger clubs to their latest signing from non-le...

The 22-year-old attacking midfielder is the National League’s reigning player of the season after an outstanding campaign with Altrincham which saw him register 23 goals and 12 assists in 47 matches. He helped his side make a surprise run into the play-offs, where they were beaten in the semi-finalists by now League Two side Bromley.

Now Football League stars, Macaulay Langstaff and Paul Mullin has picked up the award in the last two years.

He also won a place in the National League team of the season and was named Sports Beat young player of the year at the Non-League Paper's annual end-of-season awards.

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Further still, he swept the board at the club’s awards; winning goal of the year, players player of the season and young player of the season.

The diminutive midfielder stands at just 5”7 but has won admirers for his technical ability and dribbling skill.

While many of Posh’s non-league recruits have grown on fans from due to their strong performances, it is rare to see one arrive to such a fanfare.

Altrincham boss Phil Parkinson wished his former star well after the announcement of the move, he said: “It’s a very proud moment for myself, the outgoing Rob Esteva, Neil and all the staff who are all involved with the recruitment and development of a player to see them move on to bigger and better things.

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"All Chris has needed is a manager who was willing to build a team around him. Once he had the structure and the belief was back, his ability was there for everyone to see.

“He’s had a huge year, him and his partner Daisy have had their second child; Delilah-Rose. He won almost every non-league award going, but the most prestigious one for me was the National League Player of the Season. He then secured his move to the perfect team who have a track record of developing young non-league players and moving them on again.

“The club will get a decent fee and be recognised as a place that helps people develop, get back on track and progress. Everyone wins, exactly how it should be.

“Good luck CCC!”

The midfielder is also being backed for big things by heartbroken Alty fans.

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When asked for his opinion on CCC, friend of the PT and a regular on the Alty terraces, Tim Hammersly-Rich said: “Absolutely devastated, but you’ve got a good’un there. Give him the freedom to do his thing and he’ll be worth his weight in gold!”

The move presents Conn-Clarke with a chance to relaunch his Football League career.

Born in Belfast, he started out and Linfield before joining Glentoran and making his senior debut on April 2018.

That summer, aged just 16, he joined Burnley on a two-year scholarship and would spend three years at the club, only appearing on the pitch twice for National League North side Chorley on a short work experience loan in 2020.

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In February 2021, he signed for Fleetwood and made his EFL debut away at Cambridge in a 2-2 draw that September.

He would go on to make only four more appearances for Fleetwood in two seasons he spent at the club; instead being send out on loan to Alty for a month in February 2022 and again for a full season during the 2022-23 campaign.

He also spent a season at Irish side Waterford.

Conn-Clarke made such an impression in that loan at Alty in his previous loan spell- which included 28 league games and nine goals- that the club spent a record fee to bring him to the club permanently for the 2023/24 season after Fleetwood made the decision to let him go.

He has made a combined 11 appearances for the Northern Ireland U17, U19 and U21 sides.

Posh are believed to have fought off interest from the likes of Ipswich, Portsmouth, Wigan and Mansfield for Conn-Clarke’s signature.

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