Former Portsmouth, Sunderland, Nottingham Forest, Wolves and Cardiff defender finds club number 17 with surprise new non-league home

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Former Pompey defender Greg Halford has a surprise new home as he looks to prolong his 20-year career.

The 37-year-old has completed a shock switch to Isthmian League North division side Hashtag United.

The versatile performer was handed an immediate debut for the Pitsea-based side in Saturday’s encounter with Stowmarket Town.

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It was a debut to remember too, with Halford proving he still has what it takes by weighing in with a late assist to help his new side to a 1-1 draw.

Despite playing in step eight of English football, Hashtag have one of the largest backings in non-league, with 496,000 followers on Instagram as well as 606,000 subscribers on YouTube.

The club was originally formed by YouTuber Spencer Brown in 2016, with the Tags posting regular clips of exhibition games on the video site.

Two years later, United were officially licensed as a football club with their first competitive season coming in Eastern Counties League Division One South during the 2018-19 campaign.

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In fact, upon their creation, they received investment from Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who is still majority owner to date.

Greg Halford has found the 17th club of his 20 year career.Greg Halford has found the 17th club of his 20 year career.
Greg Halford has found the 17th club of his 20 year career.

Halford becomes the latest name to feature for United with former Wycombe and AFC Wimbledon striker Adebayo Akinfenwa making a one-off appearance at the start of the season.

The move to Hashtag marks the veteran defender’s 17th different club during a 20-year career which has seen him represent Pompey, Cardiff, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest.

The former England youth international arrived at Fratton Park following the Blues’ relegation from the Premier League in 2010, joining on a season-long loan from Wolves.

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The temporary stay was made permanent a year later, with the centre-back totalling 57 outings across his two seasons at PO4, while also scoring 12 goals.

Halford departed Pompey in 2012 following the threat of Pompey’s liquidation, with all senior players cleared off the books following relegation to League One.

The Blues remained close to his heart, with a bid to return to Fratton Park turned down by Kenny Jackett in February 2019.

Although he couldn’t secure a reunion, the veteran defender went on to amass more than 500 appearances in his playing career.

That total doesn’t look like slowing down, with Halford looking to help Hashtag achieve promotion this term.