DARLINGTON boss Alun Armstrong tonight described the signing of former Middlesbrough full back Tony McMahon as a “massive coup” for the Quakers.

The 34-year-old, from Bishop Auckland, made his debut for Middlesbrough against Manchester United in the Premier League in 2004, and put in 137 appearances for them in the top flight and Championship – as well as featuring in games in the UEFA Cup, until he moved on to Sheffield United eight years later.

McMahon went on to play for Blackpool and Bradford City, for whom he played in the League One play off final in 2017.

After leaving Bradford, he moved to Oxford United for a season, and also had a loan spell at Scunthorpe United. In total, he has made 428 appearances in his career, scoring 24 goals. He has also played for England at Under 16, 17 and 19 levels. The signing is subject to FA and league approval.

“I’m really excited about signing, and can’t wait to start playing again,” he said. “Alun has put a good squad together that can do really well this season.”

McMahon has also qualified as a UEFA A coach, and last season was helping out at the Middlesbrough Academy. He will be taking over as head of academy at Darlington FC on Tuesday.

“I’m looking forward to working in the academy alongside Jarrett Rivers, whom I know from my Blackpool days,” he added.

Armstrong said: “This is a massive coup for us. As a player, Tony has appeared in Europe, the Premier League, Championship and League One, so he has got vast experience. He’s another leader who will help us massively as we were naive a lot of times last season.

“He’s also been taking his coaching badges in the last year, and has been coaching at Middlesbrough’s Academy.”

McMahon is the Quakers’ fourth signing of the summer, following former Newcastle striker Luke Charman, former Bolton defender Nicky Hunt and former Blyth striker Dan Maguire.