LIAM Feeney feels like he belongs at Bolton Wanderers.
He may have spent just a brief month at the club on loan last season but the Londoner was blown away by the reception of both fans, staff and team-mates alike last autumn.
Even after his three-month stay was cut short by parent-club Millwall just four games in, he knew where he wanted to play his football next season.
As soon as the chance arose, the 27-year-old could not put pen to paper quickly enough to secure a return to Dougie Freedman’s ranks.
Feeney has agreed a two-year contract and will officially become a Wanderers player on July 1.
And he admits it was a no-brainer once he knew his time at The Den was coming to an end.
“The loan spell I had here early last season played a massive part in my decision to come back,” Feeney told the club.
“My time here was one of my highlights of last season.
“The manager had spoken to me when I was up here originally about signing me so that was always in the back of my mind, but I’m so pleased that it’s actually happening.
“I’ve got really fond memories, even though it wasn’t that long ago.
“Playing for the club last time out, the fans were really good with me and very welcoming, so that was obviously a big factor in my decision too.
“Everybody from the fans to the players and the manager all made me feel really welcome and like I belonged at the club which hopefully came out in my performances.
“There were a few other teams who showed an interest in me, especially with my contract being up in the summer, but I only ever wanted to come back to Bolton so I’m just glad that we could make it happen.
“Naturally, Dougie Freedman played a big part in my decision to come back, but the club sold itself with how the fans were with me and how amazing the stadium is to play in. I’m looking forward to more of that.”
Feeney joins Neil Danns, Andy Robinson, Dorian Dervite and Liam Trotter as one of five permanent transfers agreed by Dougie Freedman in the month since their Championship campaign ended.
But after his loan spell, he is familiar with the majority of his new team-mates already, particularly Trotter whom he played alongside at Millwall and then spent time with away from the pitch last season while he was at Blackburn on another loan and Trotter was at the Reebok.
The two Liams remain good friends and Feeney hopes that will help on the pitch next season.
He added: “Me and Trots are very good friends – we lived together down in London and when I was on loan at Blackburn I spent a lot of time with him in the local area.
“We seem to be following each other a bit, but obviously that is a plus point to have one of your best friends up here with you when you move somewhere new.
“On the whole though, they’re a good squad of boys here and everyone made it really easy – sometimes when you go out on loan, you can feel like a bit of an outsider but I didn’t feel like that at all.
“I’m just looking forward to getting started and having more of the same experiences.
“Now I know that my future is sorted, I can get myself fit and ready for coming back where I’m sure we’ll have a hard but good pre-season and hopefully get off to a good start.”