Tom Dunford is set to wave a fond farewell to Gosport Borough before he concentrates on hitting the woodwork.
The popular 24-year-old midfielder has informed boss Alex Pike of his intention to retire and is set to play his final game as Borough host Wealdstone in National League South tomorrow (3pm).
Tom is a fantastic footballer and a lot of the time he’s been an unsung hero for usAlex Pike
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 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 11 of them and I have to put my best team on the park.’
Pike is without Andy Robinson, who is recovering from a hamstring problem, but is keen to see the game beat the bad weather.
He said: ‘There are two areas of the pitch that are a bit dodgy but the covers have been put on and they will stay on until Saturday.
‘And we have a super soaker that we can borrow from the cricket club if we need it, so thanks to them.
‘We need to get the game on from a financial and a footballing standpoint and we are very hopeful.’
Meanwhile, former Pompey winger Nicky Jennings is a guest at Privett Park for the day and as a result, Blues season ticket holders can show their card and get in for just £5.