Published: 00:00, 24 October 2018
Deren Ibrahim hopes to return to Dartford as manager one day after leaving the club to pursue a coaching career.
The 27-year-old has been appointed head of academy goalkeeper coaching at Charlton Athletic, a role which means he’s had to stop playing.
Ibrahim admitted it was hard to walk away from Princes Park but is confident he’s made the right decision.
He said: “This job is full-time and it is a big commitment. To be honest, it’s everything I’ve worked towards.
“I’ve never hidden my desire to be a full-time goalkeeper coach long-term.
“I’ve always focused on my career but now I’ve got to focus on 22 goalkeepers and try to get the best out of them.
“It’s a job I wanted but one I never thought I would get at this age so when the opportunity came around I couldn’t turn it down.”
A similar role opened up for Ibrahim at QPR four years ago but he chose to stay with Dartford.
He said: “At that stage I felt there was more I could give in football but now the time is right to accept the job.
“I could play in National League South for the next 10 years and if we go up, fantastic, but what’s to say they might not get another goalkeeper?
“To be manager of Dartford would be a dream come true one day but this is the next step. I’m excited as to where it can go.
“I’m sure there will be times when I’m back on the terraces at Dartford thinking ‘if only I was still there’ but you make decisions and hopefully this one will benefit me and my family.”
Ibrahim is set to make his 180th and final appearance for the Darts away to Truro on Saturday.
Most of those were under Tony Burman and Ibrahim sat down to consult his former manager before making his final decision.
He said: “I’ve got a very good relationship with Tony.
“Whatever Tony decided last year, I supported him and he did the same for me.
“When I knock on his door and ask for 10 minutes, it doesn’t normally end well but Tony only had my best interests at heart. He was upset I was leaving but over the moon for me at the same time.
“He knows what I go through and what I’ve done in my coaching.
“He sees me on the astroturf after work’s finished, doing one-to-ones with local kids so he sees the hours I put in.
“I think, deep down, he knew it was probably the right decision for me.”
Ibrahim’s final message was for the supporters.
He said: “They’ve been there through the good times and the bad and I’m going from being a player to being one of them.
“Dartford is one of the biggest clubs in non-league and the fans are the reason for that.”