Goalkeeper planning to kick off with new Peruvian adventure

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IN FOOTBALLING parlance, it certainly appears to be a case of the boy done good.

Non-league Harrogate Town’s goalkeeper, Mark Cook, has jetted out to South America where he is in advanced talks to join the most successful football club in Peru, Universitario de Deportes.

The 23-year-old, who came to Yorkshire from Gateshead 18 months ago and was named the player of the year for last season, has come to the attention of the Peruvian side through its manager, former Hull City and Newcastle United cult hero Nolberto “Nobby” Solano.

Cook, who has made 61 appearances for the Blue Square Bet North side and kept 17 clean sheets, was at Newcastle and Hartlepool at the same time as the 37-year-old former Peru midfielder.

Harrogate Town’s manager, Simon Weaver, told the Yorkshire Post: “We do not want to stand in his way, everyone wants to realise their ambitions and I wish Mark every success. But we are an ambitious club, and I am hoping to hear what is happening soon as we need to plan for the future.”

Mr Weaver, 34, himself a former player who had a stint with Lincoln City, revealed that Harrogate Town is not expecting a major windfall if Cook does move to Peru.

But the Yorkshire outfit would benefit from a proposed clause which would give it a 40 per cent slice of any sum if Cook is sold on.

Universitario was founded in 1924 and is based in Lima. The club has won 25 first division titles, more than any other club in Peru, although it is currently embroiled in a financial crisis after being placed in administration.

Mr Weaver maintained he is still hopeful a deal will be sorted for Cook, but stressed papers need to be exchanged by the end of the month to allow the Newcastle-born goalkeeper to play during this season in Peru.

email paul.jeeves@ypn.co.uk