County boss Jim Gannon says the departure of Danny Lloyd should be "an inspiration" for other players who want to progress into professional football. Jim believes Danny's progress will inspire players with similar ambitions, whether they're already within the club or considering joining us.
Jim believes Danny's departure to a higher level has a massive 'silver lining' in terms of recruiting new talent. He said: "I trust the missing attacking pieces of our current team will be quickly filled by similar ambitious, goal hungry players like Danny."
Danny has signed a three-year deal at Peterborough United after scoring 29 goals for the Hatters this season. He told County's official website: "I know I wouldn't be where I am today without Stockport County and Jim Gannon. I was on the phone to him last night and he was different class. Jim and the club have given me the platform to become a professional footballer, something I dreamt about when I was a kid – without the gaffer I wouldn't be in this position. I am a full-time footballer, and it hasn't quite sunk in yet that I won't be working in an office anymore!"
Jim said: "Although it is naturally disappointing for all to lose Danny, that disappointment is quickly dissipated by such a great move for the lad. Danny left AFC Fylde in some ways disillusioned with the game, and coming to Edgeley Park has restored both his enjoyment of the game and zest to progress as a player. Danny is going to a great club that have great football people in charge, and a record for giving non-league players a chance and platform for further success. We cannot but give him all our best wishes for further success."
Danny admitted he was close to quitting the game twelve months ago: "I'd fallen out of love with football," said Danny. "I was thinking of packing it all in, but Jim and Alan Lord both spoke to me last summer and rebuilt my confidence – twelve months later, I'm in the Football League. What a difference a year makes. Jim and the lads made me believe in myself again, and it's been a really emotional journey for me."
Jim Gannon is confident that County can grow as a team in the wake of Danny's departure. He said: "As a coaching staff we take pride in playing a part in helping players reach their potential and provide the environment to allow players to shine. Although many will be concerned about the hole that is left with Danny's departure we must not forget that the club is building its reputation again for attracting and developing non-league players into Football League professionals.
"My experiences of the past and my belief in what we have, and our ability to attract players fills me with confidence that we have the qualities to gain further progress this season. Whether it be top goal scorers like Jermaine Easter, Anthony Elding, Liam Dickinson, or outstanding players such as Ashley Williams we have managed to grow again, better and stronger, despite their departures. More recently at Northwich I lost my top goal scorer, Player of the Year and main goalkeeper amongst others to higher levels, but we were much better the next year because of the type of player that grew within the club and joined us the next pre-season.
"We must not forget that players' upward moves are due both to their own individual performance but also the underlining progress of a team and rising profile of a club. We should not fear our players progressing but rejoice it as part of our success. We are on an upward cycle and I trust that we will continue on that journey."
Danny said: "I was aware that a number of scouts were coming to watch me and Peterborough had been regular visitors to Edgeley Park. They got in touch with my agent last week and it all moved pretty quickly after that, I went for a chat with them and agreed a three-year deal. I didn't expect anything to happen as quickly as this, but that's football for you.
"I'm leaving with a heavy heart because I love County and always will. The gaffer had faith in me, and the best thing he did was to keep playing me, and with each opportunity I grew in confidence, something I had lost at my previous club.
"Everyone has been brilliant, and I can't thank them enough - Richard Park, Gary Burton, Steve Bellis, Richard Landon, the gaffer, Mike Flynn, Dave Conlon, the media lads – everyone has been superb. I could go on all day about the players, they've been the best group of people that I've ever come across, and the club can be very proud of them all."
Danny has had a unique relationship with the County supporters and was firmly established as a fans' favourite. He said: "I want to thank the supporters, who took me to their hearts so quickly, I've had a great relationship with the fans and I got goose bumps when they sang my name – I really felt wanted at Stockport County.
"I've had so many messages of support, it's untrue, there must've been more than a thousand alerts on Twitter, people wishing me well for the future, and everyone has been so positive. I just want to thank everyone who's taken the time to get in touch."
Danny is planning to move to Peterborough in the next few weeks and is already looking at houses and apartments with his partner. He said: "I can't wait to get started, pre-season can't come soon enough. Peterborough have given me a plan to work on over the summer so I'll be getting into that straight away. I won't be resting on my laurels, I want to be playing week in, week out, so the hard work starts here. I still feel I've got a point to prove to previous managers.
"But you can rest assured I'll be looking out for County's result first every single week and I'll be staying in touch with everybody – from the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone at Stockport County."