Former Sheffield United man hailed as he pledges salary to charity after signing for League Two club
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The 37-year-old, who began his career at Manchester United and joined the Blades on loan from the Red Devils, has also played for Burnley, Sunderland and Stoke City during his career but has been a free agent since the summer, when he left the Clarets following their relegation from the Premier League.
Bardsley had been training with Stockport County while he recovered from an injury and has now signed a deal – pledging his entire salary for the season to the club’s community trust.
“This is a dream signing,” the former Blade said. “Over the last six months I’ve had the honour of training with the club as I bounce back from injury, and during this time County has felt more and more like a home for me thanks to the support from the players, coaching staff and wider club.
“Having the opportunity to sign for the club and to give back to the Community Trust at the same time feels like the perfect way for me to make my return to football. County is a club with a clear mission and with real opportunity ahead of it, both within the league and within the local community, it's this mission which makes County incredibly exciting to be involved with."
Bardsley played 16 times for the Blades on loan from Old Trafford in the 2007/08 season as United looked to bounce back from relegation the previous season. Stockport manager Dave Challinor said: “Phil has had an incredibly successful career at the very top of the football pyramid. His skill, experience and tenacity will be a huge asset to the club as we continue our campaign, and we look forward to welcoming him into the side.”
County director of football Simon Wilson added: “We are very pleased to be able to add someone of Phil’s character, quality and experience to the group and am sure the entire Club will benefit. Phil is a winner and keen to contribute to the campaign this season.”