Ex-Portsmouth, Gillingham and Colchester man in shock return to football - two-and-a-half years after retiring

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The left-back made 18 appearances during a disappointing Fratton Park stay

A former Pompey defender is back playing - two-and-a-half years after retiring.

Charlie Daniels endured a hugely disappointing spell at Fratton Park before departing in the summer of 2021.

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Just six months later, the left-back hung up his boots while at League Two Colchester to focus on coaching ambition.

Former Pompey left-back Charlie Daniels has come out of retirement to play for non-league side WestfieldFormer Pompey left-back Charlie Daniels has come out of retirement to play for non-league side Westfield
Former Pompey left-back Charlie Daniels has come out of retirement to play for non-league side Westfield | National World

Now, at the age of 37, Daniels has caused a shock by returning to football with an East Sussex club in the seventh tier of non-league football.

Mid Sussex Premier Division side Westfield have announced the signing of a player who helped Bournemouth to two promotions and also featured in the Premier League.

It represents a huge coup, albeit influenced by club owner and QPR defender Steve Cook, who played alongside Daniels during their Dean Court days together.

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Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Westfield said: ‘We are excited to announce the signing of Bournemouth legend Charlie Daniels.

‘His experience and ability will be a tremendous asset to Westfield FC in our hunt for promotion in the 24/25 season. Welcome to the club, @chazdaniels13.’

Daniels made 265 appearances and scored 17 goals during eight-and-a-half years with Bournemouth, primarily under Eddie Howe.

The former Spurs and Gillingham man ended up at Fratton Park in January 2021, when Kenny Jackett signed him on a free transfer from Shrewsbury.

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However, the move didn’t work out and the veteran ended up starting 11 times during the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, totalling 18 games and one goal.

He lined-up at left-back in the Leasing.com Trophy penalty shoot-out defeat against Salford at Wembley in a dreadful team performance which would mark Jackett’s final match in charge.

Interim head coach Danny Cowley subsequently largely used Daniels from the bench for the remainder of the season, although he remained part of every squad.

With his short-team deal up in the summer, he was released along with Jordy Hiwula, Tom Naylor, Andy Cannon, Bryn Morris, Craig MacGillivray, Jack Whatmough, Ben Close and Ryan Williams.

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Daniels moved to Colchester in August 2021, making 19 appearances for the League Two club before his contract was cancelled by mutual consent six months later in the aftermath of Hayden Mullins’ departure as head coach.

As a consequence, he announced his retirement and focused on being under-21 boss at Watford - but, two-and-a-half years later, the defender has now signed for Westfield.

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