Former Liverpool, West Ham United and England full back Paul Konchesky has joined Ryman League Premier Division club Billericay Town.
The defender left Gillingham this week and has agreed to become the latest player to join the Blues following the takeover of the club by businessman Glenn Tamplin.
Konchesky began his professional career with Charlton Athletic and was another player to come out of the Senrab youth club, famous for producing the likes of John Terry and Jermain Defoe.
In August 1997 he made his debut appearance for the Addicks in a game against Oxford United at the age of sixteen.
He had a short spell on loan at Spurs in September 2003, before joining West Ham United in a £1.5m in July 2005.
The 2006 FA Cup Final was to be one of contrasting emotions for Konchesky, as he scored in the thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool, but later missed a spot kick in a penalty shoot out that saw the Hammers defeated.
A move to Fulham saw him play in the Europa League Final in 2010, before following manager Roy Hodgson to Liverpool when the Cottagers manager replaced Rafa Benitez in the Anfield dugout.
Hodgson left Liverpool and was replaced by Reds legend Kenny Dalglish, a move that saw Konchesky fall out of favour and join Nottingham Forest on loan in January 2011.
The following summer he moved to Leicester City, helping the club to promotion into the Premier League and then played a part in their successful battle against relegation in the 2014/15 season.
Konchesky spent last season on loan at Queens Park Rangers and was released by Leicester upon his return to the King Power Stadium.
He joined SkyBet League One club Gillingham in the summer, making twenty appearances for the Gills but will now swap life at Priestfield for a key role in trying to help Glenn Tamplin realise his ambitions of establishing Billericay Town in the National League.
After securing a move to the Blues, Konchesky revealed that it was Tamplin’s ambition that had played a key part in persuading him to move into non-league football for the first time in his career.
He said “It is the owner’s ambition that has brought me here,”
“I was thinking about retiring so my agent spoke to the owner here about his ambition and plans.
“I knew who Billericay were of course but I didn’t know much about the owner.
“I looked into things and I sat down with him and his ambition is phenomenal.
“His enthusiasm to take this team forward was clear and it was something I was interested in.
“The move has happened very quickly. I have retired from professional football as of yesterday and after I spoke to the owner it was a no brainer for me.
“It is clear to me that this is a man who won’t give in and this is a challenge for us all”
The thirty five year old, who has two England caps to his name, could make his debut in the Blues’ Ryman Premier League clash at Harlow Town on Saturday.
The game will see two clubs still looking to gatecrash the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs face each other and Konchesky revealed he is up for the challenge.
“I know Harlow play on the artificial pitch and it will be different”
“Iis a challenge I will give everything for.
“Tomorrow is an exciting and I want to help us get the points.”
With his first spell outside the professional game now confirmed Konchesky is looking to the future.
He has brought down the curtain on a twenty-year career that has seen him play over six hundred games for nine clubs.
But far from winding down in semi-professional football, he is now hoping to help his new team mates over the remainder of the season.
“I know what to expect, I don’t have an ego.
“I will not be playing at Premier League grounds, I know that. I have played football here before and I know how it is.
“I have experience, I am a leader and I can be loud if I need to be.
“I have played 650 games in my career and I can give a lot. If the lads want support and tips I am there, if people want them, of course.”
That process begins on Saturday, as the former England international walks out as a Billericay Town player for the first time.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Images: Reuters Media / Nicky Hayes