Sun, 22 Dec 2019
TADLEY Calleva’s all-time leading goalscorer Brett Denham admitted it was a ‘tough decision’ to call time on his career at Barlows Park.
The 28-year-old, who scored 229 goals in 285 appearances, has decided to leave the club after eight seasons.
Tadley have made a mixed start to the season in the Sydenhams Wessex League Premier Division and Denham admitted it wasn’t easy to leave.
“It was a tough decision and one that didn’t come lightly,” he said. “I had been thinking for a few weeks and since the summer with all the changes.
“I love the club and all the people behind the scenes and owe them a lot for how I’ve been treated since the day I joined.”
Denham was part of the squad that secured promotion to the Premier Division under former manager Danny Dolan, just one of his stand-out moments at the club.
He said: “Beating Basingstoke at the Camrose is up there, but when we finally got promoted it was such a good feeling and it was also a relief because we were so close every year.”
Denham has enjoyed a prolific career with Tadley and recently became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
The striker admitted to keeping a record of the amount of times he has found the back of the net.
He said: “I’ve always kept a tally of my goals from a young age and I know where the big milestones are.
“My aim this season was to get 250 [goals] and then 300 appearances, but I can’t promise I’ll be playing long enough to match that again so it’ll always be something I’m proud of.”
Despite Denham leaving Barlows Park, he has not yet decided on his next step, admitting he will take his time over the Christmas break.
He said: “I have a couple of weeks to relax a bit more around Christmas and work out what suits me.
“I’m playing with my mates locally this week, but I imagine I’ll train with a couple of teams and come to a decision soon.
“The highest level possible is always what I want, but working and travel always need to be taken into account.
“The Wessex League has suited me so far, but it would be weird going back to Tadley in the away dressing room.”
Denham has praised the support from his ex-teammates and coaches as well as those behind the scenes at the club.
“I can’t thank Dolan [former manager] enough,” he said. “I’d played and trained for a few teams, but he gave me that number nine shirt.
“On and off the pitch he’s been a great bloke and he managed to keep the squad together for so long.
“As I mentioned on twitter, I have to thank Sandy [Russell], Dean [Newton] and the others running the club.
“It’s a great place to go whether I was playing or not and always felt more than welcome and although I’ll miss it, I won’t be a stranger up there.
“I wish all the best to Clarky [Adam Clark], Macca [John McFarlane] and Harrison [Gilkes] as well as the players for the rest of the season.
“There are some great coaches and players there and have shown it at times this season.
“It’s a tough ask to follow Danny and rebuild a team, but I’d like to think I helped where I could and I really appreciated taking on the captain’s role,” he added.