Bootle striker and Northern Premier League West top goalscorer Ben Hodkinson says signing an extension was a ‘no brainer’.
Hodkinson has gone from strength to strength in the Bucks’ first season in the Northern Premier League West after their promotion from the North West Counties.
This week saw the forward put pen to paper on a two-year contract, keeping him at the club until 2024.
He has 16 goals in the league as Bootle have enjoyed a resurgence under Brian Richardson and saw their 2021 capped with a euphoric win over league-leaders Marine.
Speaking to Off The Park, he said: “I’m really happy here at the moment. Spoke to Joe Johnson and Joe Doran the last couple of weeks and I’m glad we got it all sorted, I’m made up to be staying here for a couple more years.
“I think the most important thing in footy [sic] is to be happy and I think you play your best football when you’re happy. I get on with all the fans, I’m happy here, the players I think we’ve got a good squad the ambition for the club is good so I thought the best thing to do ease stay where you’re happy.
“I sorted something, spoke to Brian – get on well with him – it’s a no-brainer to stay for a couple more seasons.”
They currently sit ninth, eight points off the play-offs and the marksman feels that the news adds to their joint-ambition of bringing success to Vesty Road.
“Speaking to Joe Johnson and Joe Doran, they want to move up the leagues. They’ve brought Brian in who is experienced, a brilliant manager as well,” he added.
“They want to move up the leagues as quickly as they can, whether it’ll be this season or get into the play-off’s this season that’s what we’re all aiming for. If it doesn’t happen this season, I’m sure next season we’ll be up there, think everyone sees Bootle at the moment, no one wants to play us, we’re going to push for the play-off’s this year.
“You saw at Marine, the Bootle fans have been unbelievable this season it just seems game by game we’re getting more fans, I get on with them all as well. They’ve been brilliant this season, it makes it better for all us players we’re all made up to have following us – especially away games now, it’s brilliant.”
The Bucks boss explained how the win over Neil Young’s side was the highlight of his tenure in his latest adventure on Merseyside so far.
Hodkinson added to his league tally with the opener against the league-leaders and the aftermath that followed led to some iconic images circulating amongst the fans.
He explained: “My mates, I don’t think they realised that there was an away section when you bought tickets so they just quickly bought tickets in the home end not really realising.
“So they were the fans I was running to and then just in the moment running over to them stuck my hands on my ears and managed to get a good picture so I was made up with it. Playing against Marine, in the derby, 3-0 win, it’s probably one of the best moments of the season so far with so many Bootle fans there it was brilliant.
“16 league goals, everyone aims for 20 in a season hopefully get on that and I guess keep going see where it goes. I’d like to end on 30 goals in all comps that’ll be good.”
On the news, Richardson added: “We’re more than happy that Ben’s, with the form he’s in, we’re delighted he’s signed the contract.
“It wasn’t something we felt might not happen we had talks with him earlier about whether he was happy with the club, what his aspirations are going forwards he’s very happy to stay at Bootle which is a good sign and positive for the club.
“Everybody at the club wants to do well, we’re all ambitious we all want to get the club as high as we can. Then again, you could say that about every club you go into but I think the two lads – Joe Doran and Joe Johnson – are as ambitious as I am.
“So as far as I’m concerned it’s great thing for the manager because if you’ve managed at clubs in the past that are happy to just stay where they are, you can lose your own motivation so I think it’s fair to say I’m surrounded by people who are to do well and that keeps me on my toes.”