Experienced Needham goalkeeper retires
Needham Market’s Danny Gay has made the decision to ‘hang up his gloves’ after a long and successful football career.
The 35-year-old feels the ‘time is right’ to retire from the game, having already been convinced to play a year longer than planned.
“I’m getting older so it’s hurting more,” he said. “And I have a young family, so I want to be spending my Saturday’s with them, my priorities have changed.”
Gay signed for Bostik League Premier Division side the Marketmen midway through the 2015/16 season and his performances saw him collect the Supporters’ Player of the year award.
Gay, from King’s Lynn, started his career at Norwich City before joining professional side Southend United.
He has also played for AFC Sudbury, Chelmsford, King’s Lynn, Braintree and St Neots.
“It’s a shame to end after such a disappointing season,” he said, following Needham’s 19th-placed league finish and 4-0 final game loss.
“But I have made my decision and I’m happy with it. I’m ready to step away from the game.
“I lost my dad 18 months ago and he was a big part of my footballing career. This has had an impact on my decision, he would have tried to stop me I think, but it isn’t the same without him.
“I could maybe play on and go down levels but I want to finish while I’m at Step 3 standard, I’ve only ever been here or higher.
“The time is just right to hang up my gloves.”
• Meanwhile, Needham Market FC is upgrading its facilities after winning the 2018 Buildbase Club Renovation Programme.
The Suffolk club will use the £50k product bursary for club improvements after succeeding at a pitching event for the six finalists held at Wembley Stadium last month.
The bursary includes building, electrical and hire products which will be provided by local Buildbase branches.
Needham Market FC will improve its changing rooms, function rooms and a community café — to supplement the recently-installed 3G pitch and make the club a hub for the community.
The club’s success has seen them decide to delay the official opening of the 3G until September, when all work is due to be completed.
Robert Peace, Needham Market operations and academy director said: “We are delighted to have won it.
“The bursary will have a massive benefit on the club and local community.
“The community café, changing room facilities and multi-function room will provide some of the best facilities within the county alongside the 3G pitch.
“Winning it will allow Needham to open the facilities to a wider range of individuals and allow greater football and sporting provision.”
Needham Market FC is one of two clubs to win this year’s bursary, splitting the £100k prize with Stockport’s Cheadle Town FC.