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Dartford midfielder Elliot Bradbrook to retire at the end of the season

By Matthew Panting

Dartford’s Elliot Bradbrook will retire this summer – but his season could already be over.

Bradbrook’s retirement was a low-key announcement in Dartford’s programme against Chippenham in National League South on Saturday.

But the former captain hobbled off with a calf injury inside the first 20 minutes which could mean he has played his last game for the club already.

Dartford's Elliot Bradbrook will hang up his boots at the end of this season. Picture: Sean Aidan
Dartford's Elliot Bradbrook will hang up his boots at the end of this season. Picture: Sean Aidan

“It’s a difficult decision because football has been a big part of my life,” said Bradbrook. “I think it’s time, unfortunately.

“I’d have loved to go out with a bit of a bang at the end of the season and we still might get in those play-offs, I’m hopeful we will, but this injury doesn’t look good.

“I’ve never done anything to my calf before. I’ll come in on Monday and we’ll have to assess it.

“It’s one of those things, I’ve definitely pulled something and I can’t see that being one or two weeks. Maybe if we get in the play-offs, I’ll have a chance but not next weekend – we’ll have to see for the week after.”

“I’m not interested in management or coaching. I’ve given a lot for the club and there comes a time when you can’t give too much more.

Not only is Bradbrook not interested in playing at a lower level, he isn’t keen on staying involved in game by taking up a coaching role.

“I’ve said before I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else,” he added. “If I wanted to carry on then it would be here, it’s not about that.

“It’s about my body telling me it’s time and I’ve got a young family I want to look after and there’s other things I want to do on Saturdays if I’m honest.

“I’m not interested in management or coaching. I’ve given a lot for the club and there comes a time when you can’t give too much more.

“I wanted to let them know early. I fully expected not to play this season to be honest, and actually I’ve played a lot more than I thought I was going to.”

Bradbrook was originally going to hang up his boots last summer but Dartford’s heartbreaking season finale when they lost out on the title on goal difference to Havant before losing in the play-offs, combined with the subsequent appointment of Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan as joint-managers meant that decision was put on hold.

“The way it ended last year was the reason why I didn’t give up last season,” explained Bradbrook.

“Losing the league on goal difference is probably the worst thing that can happen to you.

Elliot Bradbrook in the thick of the action for Dartford against Woking earlier this season. Picture: Andy Jones
Elliot Bradbrook in the thick of the action for Dartford against Woking earlier this season. Picture: Andy Jones

“After thinking about it, I didn’t want to leave like that. With the change of management coming in, I know Coyley and Flan well and I wanted to help them out in the transition.

“I’ve played a lot of games which I didn’t think I was going to and scored some important goals along the way as well. I’m glad I’ve been able to help out but it’s time for a change.

“They came to me three or four weeks ago and said they wanted to keep me next year but they needed to know where my head’s at.

“I was going to give up last season so they managed to convince me to stay on for this year. I’ve enjoyed it but there’s other things to be doing now.”

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