BRETT POATE admits his decision to leave Gosport Borough is one of the hardest ones he has had to make in his football career.
For the past six years Poate has often been the bedrock of the Borough defence, helping them up the ranks of the non-league pyramid.
He helped take them from the Wessex League to National League South and also to an FA Trophy final at Wembley.
The 33-year-old, however, feels the time is right to part ways with the club.
‘In all honesty I am gutted to be leaving,’ said Poate.
‘Twice in the last five weeks I have asked to go but they kept telling me things are going to get better.
‘I knew after the Poole Town game at the start of the year, though, that I was done.
‘We got beat 7-0 and coming back there were just six of us on a 52-seater coach.
‘The club is not the same to me anymore.
‘With all the players and Mick Catlin leaving it has taken the heart out of the club.
‘I had a good chat with manager Alex Pike and I told him that I wasn’t happy.
‘Though I love the club I feel the time is right for me to leave.
‘I could quite easily have stayed and continued to pick up my money but it is not all about finances.
‘In the end they agreed to terminate my contract.
‘The time I spent with Borough was probably the best of my footballing career.
‘We had two promotions and a Wembley appearance which was something special.’
Poate is hoping Gosport can sort out their financial problems.
The club have seen a full squad of established players leave the club in recent times, as well as assistant manager Mick Catlin.
It has been a tough time for the loyal supporters of the Privett Park outfit who have seen their side slip down the National League South table.
‘I would never criticise the club and I hope they sort their problems out and get it back,’ added Poate.
The former Borough skipper insists he is in no rush to get straight back into football even though some clubs have been in contact.
Poate also runs his own business.
At the moment work involves him travelling up to London a few times a week.
‘There is a lot going on at the moment,’ said Poate.
‘If something comes along then I will have a look at it.’
n Gosport are in Vanarama National league South action tonight against East Thurrock United at the Aerial Direct Stadium (7.45pm)