Tom Dunford said a fond farewell in his final game before retirement as Gosport Borough hope to beat Wealdstone…and the weather.
Dunford is set to wave a fond farewell to Borough before he concentrates on hitting the woodwork.
The popular 24-year-old midfielder has informed manager Alex Pike of his intention to retire.
Dunford is a carpenter by trade and is determined to commit himself to a new business venture making meeting pods. But that has signalled the end of his semi-professional football career and Pike is disappointed to lose a talented midfielder from his ranks.
Pike said: “It will be Tom’s last game, which is really sad from a club point of view. Tom is a fantastic footballer and a lot of the time he’s been an unsung hero for us. He’s a credit to himself.
“He’s been a big part of the club’s success over the past three or four years. He is a carpenter but he has gone into business making meeting pods.
“They look fantastic and he has a new investor and needs to commit to it. I totally understand that.
“He is based on the Isle of Wight and with training or away matches, it does have an impact on your life.
“If it’s not your primary source of income, something has to give.
We don’t pay enough to our players to be able to compete with their primary source of income.
“Everyone has to make a living. We wish him well with his new venture.”
Pike has not ruled out the possibility of a return in the future for the former Southampton Academy scholar.
The Borough boss said: “I’ve been lucky enough to start two businesses from scratch and sell them.
“The situation now might be different in the summer when he has got things up and running. Things change and he might want to come back in the future. That door will always be open for him.”
Dunford is not the only midfielder to say his goodbyes at Privett Park this week with Steve Ramsey released to join Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) Premier Division side AFC Portchester.
Pike said: ‘Steve Ramsey has been disappointed he hasn’t had as many chances as he would want and his match action has been limited.
“A few players have been ahead of him. He’s a fantastic bloke and a good footballer but I can only play eleven of them and I have to put my best team on the park”