The Premier League winner that Stockport County fans rejected

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Back in August 2011, Conference side Stockport County gave their supporters the chance to vote on the club's next signing. With former Champions League winner Didi Hamamn in the managerial hotseat, Stockport had lofty ambitions to gain promotion back to the Football League.

Stockport County fans were given the choice on the club's new number 9 via a Twitter poll. The options were AFC Halifax's Jamie Vardy and Fleetwood Town's George Donnelly, who had recently had two successful loan spells at the club.

Rumours were rife at the time with many fans left envious that Jamie Vardy would be joining the Stockport resurgence back into the Football League under Didi Hamann's guidance. However, surprisingly to many, Stockport County's supporters decided the club should attempt to sign George Donnelly ahead of Jamie Vardy.

The Manchester Evening News reported that Tony Evans, who at the time was part of a consortium that was looking to take over the reigns at Edgeley Park, used the social media site Twitter, to Tweet:

"I wanted to hear your views. If we could sign one of them who would it be....Vardy or Georgie (Donnelly)?

After the poll had ended and it was decided that George Donnelly was the man Stockport County fans would prefer to sign ahead of Jamie Vardy, Stockport proceeded to make a bid for the 23 year old Liverpudlian. Unfortunately for Stockport's fans after making a bid, the two clubs' valuations of the player was "way off" according to Evans.

After George Donnelly's move back to Stockport was rebuffed, he had somewhat disappointing spells at Macclesfield Town, Rochdale and Tranmere Rovers before dropping into the Non League before the age of 30.

Shortly after Stockport's interest, Jamie Vardy went on to sign for their Conference rivals Fleetwood Town. Less than one year since the infamous Twitter poll, Jamie Vardy had signed for then Championship side Leicester City from Fleetwood Town for a Non League Record which would go on to rise to £1.7 million.

Jamie Vardy has since gone on to score 99 goals in the Premier League, win the Premier League and score on seven occasions for the England national team before retiring from international football back in 2018.

Just one month after Evans had asked the Stockport fans on which striker to sign, he resigned as a director at the club following a collapse of his attempted takeover. Shortly after, manager Didi Hamann also left the club after an unsuccessful stint in the managerial hotseat and has not managed since.

Fast forward nine years and Stockport County are yet to achieve promotion back to the Football League, however things are looking up.

In January 2020, wealthy local businessman and lifelong Stockport supporter, Mark Stott purchased the club with the aim of finally getting them back into the Football League. In March 2020, it was revealed that Stott had donated £75,000 to a local NHS Trust in a fantastic gesture to help the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Under the ownership of Mark Stott, Stockport County are hopeful of big things over the coming years. Who knows, once football is back up and running again, they may even sign the next Jamie Vardy?

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