‘There’s unfinished business’ – Paulsgrove’s Aaron Fennemore to ‘squeeze’ one more season in before retiring
Now 38, the midfielder had been aiming to make the current campaign his last with the Hampshire Premier League club.
But a knee ligament injury has ruled him out since October and his doctor has told him to forget about playing again in 2021/22.
He is one of four first team squad regulars who might not play again this term due to injury - Billy Butcher, Mitch Austin and Danny Lane are the others. All of them, apart from Lane, have the same injury.
‘It’s crazy,’ said Fennemore. ‘I’ve rarely ever been injured - this is the worst one I’ve had.
‘I was going to retire after this season but the way it’s gone I feel like there’s some unfinished business.
‘I’ll come back, hopefully have a good pre-season and squeeze one more season in.’
Since being injured, Fennemore has been helping out Grove boss Steve Ledger on matchdays in the dugout.
With Ledger absent, Fennemore was more heavily involved in the weekend trip to Locks Heath.
A run of three successive league defeats was ended with a 1-1 draw, Mike Mallory’s second half effort cancelling out a Jordan Whiteley opener.
Bearing in mind Grove had lost 3-0 at home to Hayling and Clanfield in their previous two outings, it was a major improvement.
‘It was better, a lot better,’ declared Fennemore. ‘In the first half the sides cancelled each other out.
‘At half-time we took Frankie Kemp off and put Luis Tyler on the left to give us a bit more pace.
‘Then, after about 10 minutes (of the second half) we were playing with just one up front so we took Craig Ralph off and put Chaz Gardner up front. That changed the game really, he gave us some pace up front.’
After Mallory had levelled, Grove were adamant they should have had a penalty for a foul on Gardner.
‘Their defender manhandled Chaz, anywhere else on the pitch at any other time and it’s a foul,’ said Fennemore.
He added: ‘We’ve struggled to get the same 11 on the pitch every week.
‘Same again for next week - we sent out a text and five of the team who started (v Locks Heath) can’t play on Saturday.
‘It’s frustrating. We’ve been one of the top three teams for a few years but now we’re mid-table at best.
‘We need to bring in a few players and I know Steve has something up his sleeve.’
For his own part, Fennemore admits he would be keen to go into management when his playing career is over.
He is currently doing some coaching with Horndean’s under-13s, as well as helping Ledger out on matchdays.
Next weekend Grove travel to Hayling for the second time this season. Their first visit, back in October, saw referee Mike Paintin abandon the game towards the end of the second half in the interests of player safety with the score 2-2.
Fleetlands are now just five points behind third-placed Locks with two games in hand.
Their romped to a 6-0 victory at rock bottom Lyndhurst, who started the fixture with only nine players.
Alpay Ali, George Gregory, Jake Alford and Callum Dart struck in the first half as Fleetlands collected a fourth successive HPL victory.
Winger Callum Smith came off the bench to net twice after the break as Lyndhurst slumped to their 20th straight league defeat of 2021/22.
‘Lyndurst put up a spirited performance,’ said Coptermen co-boss Chris Blakeman. ‘We had to do a professional job.’
Fleetlands handed a debut to ex-Hayling United utility player Dave Brennan, who has been brought in by Blakeman’s managerial colleague Dan Greenwood from his former club.
Brennan came off the bench in the New Forest to slot in at left back, but can also play in midfield.
He is the latest ex-Hayling player signed by Greenwood after Dan Clasby, Joe Boxall, Callum Theobald, Josh Watts, George Caister, Gregory and Dart.