by James Humphrey
Ayr United’s promotion chances have been bolstered by the recent arrival of Chris Maguire.
Maguire who joins the 12th club of his career has forged a successful career down south playing for clubs such as Sunderland and Oxford United. He joins on a short term deal till the end of the season and adds firepower to an Ayr attack that features goal machine Dipo Akinyemi the league’s top goal scorer with 15 goals and explosive winger Josh Mullin.
Maguire started his career with Aberdeen where he made his debut at 17 as a substitute against Celtic on the final day of the 2005/06 season. He would go on to make over 100 appearances for Aberdeen. He later found himself behind the pecking order so he moved on loan to Kilmarnock where he had a successful 6 month loan spell helping Kilmarnock stay up. This drew interest from Derby who brought him to Pride Park in a deal worth £400,000. He again found himself down the pecking order going on loan at Portsmouth.
At the start of the 2012 season he signed for Sheffield Wednesday where he would stay for three years having another successful spell with the club. An unremarkable spell with Rotherham would follow but he would find his form again at Oxford United helping the club gain promotion to League One and reach the EFL trophy final. The season after in League One he scored a career high of 17 goals becoming the focal point for a team that finished 8th and reached the EFL trophy final again.
History would seem to repeat itself as he joined Bury who were relegated at the end of the 2017/18 season. Then came perhaps his best spell of his career when he joined Sunderland. In the three years he was there he was one of the bright sparks and a fan favourite for a club in turmoil languishing in League One. It would prove third time lucky for Maguire as Sunderland would win the EFL Trophy in 2021 however he was unable to help them get promoted to the Championship.
He would later join Lincoln at the start of the 21/22 season but his spell was cut short after he was charged by the FA for betting offences between March 2017 and February 2022. The charges prevented him from joining Hartlepool United, he would later appeal his ban on the 7th January where he was banned for another six weeks. After a number of months out of the game due to the betting ban Chris Maguire is ready and raring to go at Somerset Park. With over 100 goals in 573 appearances in his career Maguire adds valuable experience and cutting edge which will surely give Ayr an advantage in their charge for promotion.
Fan reactions paint the picture that the fanbase is really excited by this signing. @VoiceAyr tweeted “The quicker Ayr can get Chris Maguire up to speed, the bigger a coup this move could be. An x-factor signing going into the final quarter of the season.”. Another post on Facebook from John Glass says “Looks like a good signing, forward with a history of clubs behind him and 2 Scotland Caps. He could be the extra boost Ayr need to get into the play offs or indeed get to Hampden. Welcome”. On paper, Chris Maguire seems like a real coup for this level.
Up next for Ayr in the Cinch championship is an away trip to a resurgent Raith Rovers side who could close down on Morton and Ayr with a win on Friday. Ayr will be hoping to bounce back after back to back defeats to league leaders Queen’s Park and fellow promotion chasers Partick Thistle.
Will it be an instant impact for Chris Maguire? You can find out on Friday night at 7:45 on BBC Scotland.
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