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Gary hangs up his boots at 39

But manager believes he could still do a job

Malcolm Howe

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Malcolm Howe

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Gary hangs up his boots at 39

Gary Horgan

HUNGERFORD Town defender Gary Horgan insists that his boots will stay on the peg after calling time on his playing career at the age of 39.

But it is not an idea that appeals to his manager Bobby Wilkinson, who insists that Horgan could still be a key signing for another club.

“He is still fantastic player,” said Wilkinson, “and if I wasn't manager at Hungerford, he would be the first player I would call tomorrow.”

Horgan decided to call it a day at the end of last week and while he admitted: “Never say never again,” he stressed: “That’s definitely it.

“I thought about it at the end of last season,” said, “and a few weeks ago, but Bobby persuaded me to give it another go.

“Last season I was having trouble with my knee for the last couple of months, and I decided not to have treatment and see how it went over the summer.

“I had treatment this season, but it’s not quite right yet and I wasnlt happy that I could play to the level and standards I want.”

Horgan joined Hungerford for his second spell at the club four years ago when it began the surge into National League football. “I’d been manager at Swindon Supermarirne,” said Horgan, “and I could have carried on managing or as a player, and I decided to do that.

“We’ve done a lot in those years and it’s been tremendous every season.

“When we won promotion last season, I thought that would be a good time to go, but Bobby talked me round. It was my 24th pre-season, but I’m 39 now and although it will be a change, I’d like to take a break to spend more time with my family and then watch some games.

“Maybe I’ll think about going back into management, but I’ve told Bobby that if he needs me for anything, I’ll help out.”

But Wilkinson insists that Horgan could carrying playing, certainly in the lower division.

“First of all he’s still a fantastic player,” said, “and an absolute pleasure to work with. It was really strange not having him training with us this week.

“We’ve got where we are because of his cool calmness on the pitch. He played 38 games last season and 35 the season before in the league and we’ve always had the best clean sheets because of that.

“I didn’t want him to go but I understand why he decided to. But if I was a manager in the division below looking to go up, he would be my first phone call because of what he could bring to the team with his experience.

“He’s also the fittest 39-year old I’ve known and trains like an 18 or 19 year old.”

Horgan, who also counts Bath City, Chippenham, Cirencester and Mangotsfield among his previous clubs, was presented with mementos by his team-mates following last week’s game with Eastbourne Borough.

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