Spalding United have paid tribute to skipper Nathan Stainfield after the left the EVO-STIK Northern Premier League’s Tulips to sign for Gainsborough Trinity.
The central defender was hailed as a “club legend” and “colossus” this week after ending his four year stay at the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field to sign for the National League North club on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old, who joined the Tulips from Boston United back in 2013, is widely recognised as one of the best defenders in EVO-STIK NPL First Division South having been selected by the division’s managers in their ‘Team of the Year’ for the last three seasons at the annual EVO-STIK NPL Player of the Year Awards.
In a statement on the club’s website alongside an image of the framed montage he was presented with last season to mark his 150th appearance, the Tulips said: “Nathan, it’s been a pleasure having you on-board all these moons. We look forward to learning of your progress and seeing you again down the Non-League road.
“We hope you know you’ll always be welcome in Tulipsville – thanks for the memories, every best wish from us all at Spalding United FC!”
Stainfield – who’s been reunited with ex-Tulips boss Dave Frecklington and last season’s top scorer Bradley Wells following his switch to Trinity last week – had already turned down a number of opportunities to play elsewhere. Tulips manager Chris Rawlinson called his decision to leave a “blow” but said everybody at the club understood his reasons.
“He felt at his age, he had to try to play at a higher level while the chance was there,” said Rawlinson. “That’s Non-League football. In the four years of wonderful service he has given to Spalding United he has shown he has the ability to play at a higher level and he goes with our blessing.”