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Danny Kedwell reveals his motivation for playing on after leaving Ebbsfleet United

Danny Kedwell considered retiring this summer but the way last season finished at Ebbsfleet made him determined to play on.

The 35-year-old, who joined Havant & Waterlooville on Monday, felt he was under-used in the latter part of the campaign and didn't want to end his career as a bit-part player.

Kedwell described his final season at Ebbsfleet as mentally draining and found it hard being left out after the turn of the year.

Danny Kedwell has left Ebbsfleet to sign for Havant & Waterlooville Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Kedwell has left Ebbsfleet to sign for Havant & Waterlooville Picture: Andy Payton

He said: "I could have given up and retired, gone into coaching. There’s a few things I’ve been offered but I’ve still got a couple of years yet.

"When Garry (Hill) first came in, I was on flames but suddenly he stopped playing me.

"It was disappointing to finish on 13 goals because if I’d played a lot more games, I’d have definitely hit 20.

"That’s what stopped me (retiring) because I was thinking ‘I ain’t finished yet'.

"I’m not finishing my career like that - I want to finish on a high."

Danny Kedwell with his former Gills team-mate Cody McDonald Picture: Sean Aidan
Danny Kedwell with his former Gills team-mate Cody McDonald Picture: Sean Aidan

Kedwell was offered reduced terms after triggering a clause in his contract but he was never going to stay at Stonebridge Road.

"It was a bit embarrassing," he said. "Not even an 18-year-old could live on it so it was a bit of a mick-take to be honest.

"They’re restructuring and they want players in on less money, which is understandable. I haven’t got a problem with that but I think I’ve done my time there.

"I’ve still got a lot of time for the club and that’s why I still want to do the academy so I can produce players and still work with the club."

The majority of last season's Fleet squad have now left the club, with Andy Drury and Sam Magri joining Kedwell at Havant.

Danny Kedwell goes for goal against Macclesfield Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Kedwell goes for goal against Macclesfield Picture: Andy Payton

Kedwell said: "The end of last year and this year was mentally draining, with things that were going on but you can’t knock him (owner Dr Abdulla Al -Humaidi).

"He always paid us so you can’t say he’s not paid us like other clubs. They go two or three months or they don’t get paid at all but he’s always paid us.

"You can’t knock him for that but it was mental stuff as well, never knowing, that was the main thing. It was tough at home and people asking you ‘have you been paid?’ It’s mentally draining.

"We got over that after November time. As players we came together and we did it for ourselves and for the fans."

Kedwell said the departure of manager Daryl McMahon in November was the catalyst for that new mindset.

Danny Kedwell wheels away after scoring in the 2016 play-off final Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Kedwell wheels away after scoring in the 2016 play-off final Picture: Andy Payton

"He’s the one that brought us all in or re-signed us so it was 'if we don’t come together and perform, we’ll be the next ones out of the door.'

"In the first few months of the season, I think what was happening did (break the group) and it would have gone that way.

"A lot of teams would have gone the other way. Through my career, I’ve played against teams that have had those problems and they’ve just crumbled and ended up getting relegated but we had such a tight group, such good lads in there, we were all together and we did it for ourselves.

"We always made sure we did it for ourselves because if you don’t have a great season and you do get released, you’re not going to get a club.

"Look at Corey Whitely and Ebou Adams, they’ve got Football League clubs. They could have easily not got that if they didn’t perform."

Kedwell played more than 200 games for the Fleet, scoring 65 goals over four-and-a-half years but picking one highlight was easy.

Winning promotion in 2017 was Danny Kedwell's highlight at Ebbsfleet Picture: Andy Payton
Winning promotion in 2017 was Danny Kedwell's highlight at Ebbsfleet Picture: Andy Payton

He said: "It’s got to be the play-off final, being the captain of the club and getting promoted, playing with a snapped arm after an operation one week before! Not many people would do that!

"I wasn’t involved in the whole game because Cookie got sent off so I knew it was always going to be me coming off at half-time because I missed three games leading up to it and had an operation the week before.

"But to see the boys come back and win the game, that was magnificent. I came there from a League 1 club and I wanted to get them up so to be the captain and lift the cup was a magnificent highlight.

"When you leave any club, it’s hard and of course I will miss it. It’s always going to be close to me, Ebbsfleet, but I think I’ve done my time there now.

"I don’t want to just be sitting there, not playing, I’ve got a good two years in me that I know each year I can get over 20 goals still.

"I’m an honest man and if I didn’t think I could do it, I’d be retiring but I know I can and I’ve been keeping fit all through the summer."

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