MATT LOVETT has thanked the fans at Hampton & Richmond Borough – but only regrets his time at the club didn't end on a happier note.
The former Staines Town keeper played between the sticks for eight years at Hampton before suffering an horrific injury two years ago.
A failed comeback for the reserves ended in agony again, and Lovett also called time on a proposed move to Carshalton this summer before deciding to hang up the gloves for good last week.
He said: “I ruptured both cruciates in my knees, and when you throw in a double leg break, I thought to myself I've had a good run in the game for 17 years, but I don't want to end up a cripple.
“I was told I would have been first choice at Carshalton, and I could have done a job for them every now and then, but I wouldn't be able to play 40-odd games.”
Lovett enjoyed pretty much uninterrupted success at Beveree, helping the club into the Conference South and so very nearly into the Conference National, but remains bitter with the way he was treated when injured.
He said: “We had a great team, reaching three play-off finals and winning county cups. The fans were brilliant and I had a great time there. Apart from my last year playing there, it was success all the way.
“But I was a bit disappointed with the way I was treated there. I got no offer of help with rehab when I broke my leg – I didn't even get a text from the physio.
“I'm not sure they're ready to go back up yet with such a young squad, the best they can hope for is a mid-table finish and to build for the future, but I hope they prove me wrong.”