Published: 06:00, 25 September 2020
Jermaine McGlashan has swapped Ebbsfleet for the sun-kissed island of Cyprus.
The 32-year-old was out of contract at the Fleet following the end of last season and opted to move abroad to stay in full-time football.
He had interest from National League and National League South clubs – including Dartford – but has linked up with Cypriot Division 2 outfit Akritas Chlorakas.
“I spoke to my agent and spoke to a few clubs in England,” explained McGlashan. “There was the option of going part-time and I spoke to some National League clubs as well but it would have been on trial.
“I’ve contemplated playing abroad, and maybe Scotland, but then Cyprus came out of nowhere.
“I spoke to Jason Demetriou, who is from Cyprus and who I played with at Southend, and also Jason Puncheon, who is at Pafos and doing well. They both said good things about it and it encouraged me to go for it.”
It’s going to be tough to leave his wife and two daughters, aged five and one, behind in West Malling but McGlashan is no stranger to plying his trade away from home with spells at Cheltenham, Wrexham and Chesterfield on his CV.
After six months at home during lockdown, McGlashan believes his wife will be happy with the peace and quiet.
“The missus wanted me out of the house after lockdown - I’ve been indoors for six months so she’s happy now!” he joked.
“I’d been furloughed and then I was out of contract. I had my down days, I was okay through most of lockdown, but then I saw my mates getting sorted with clubs and I had nothing.
“She didn’t want to be the one who stood in my way. I’m a family man, and looked at the distance from where I was playing for Chesterfield - which was a few hours away - and the flight to Cyprus is four hours.
“It’s going to be tough, there’s already been conversations on facetime and it’s hard but hopefully things settle down back home and they can come out here. We’re off over Christmas and the new year so I can come back but hopefully there’ll be times when my family can come out here.
“It’s a new challenge. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, to play abroad - mainly when I’ve been travelling to play Morecambe on a Tuesday night, I’ve said that I wanted to do it.
“This is a change for me, but I don’t feel that far away. It’s something that I wanted to at least try, and now I can say that I’ve done it. The lockdown made it easier in that sense as we were on top of each other indoors.”
McGlashan enjoyed his brief spell at Ebbsfleet having joined the club in January following his departure from Swindon.
The Fleet were crawling away from danger at the foot of the table but the shutdown came too early for them to avoid being relegated on points per game.
“It was a shame,” reflected McGlashan. “We played the last game on the telly and did well. We felt that we were picking up some momentum.
“I got a call a few days later from Steve Lovell saying there was going to be something for me but I was a bit sceptical as I wasn’t sure what division the team would be in and how it would work out.
“Then the manager got the sack and a new German manager went in there who wanted to go young and fresh, which is fine. So, I went from having that to not having anything at all.”
McGlashan’s penultimate game in an Ebbsfleet shirt ended in controversy at Hartlepool when he claimed he was racially abused during the match.
He reflected: “I was in contact with the police regularly when it happened and then lockdown kicked in so it went quiet. I still don’t know what happened with it all.
“It was me and the keeper that heard two separate things. I understand why it’s gone quiet now although they did say if I was ever going back to Hartlepool then I’d get additional security, but I don’t think I’m in a hurry to return.”
Making the events public led to McGlashan receiving abuse on social media, including claims that the player was lying and that the Fleet did not back him.
“That was the most frustrating thing for me,” he added. “I couldn’t believe I was seen as the culprit in a situation like that.
“The most disappointing thing was that the club didn’t come out and back me. Behind closed doors, it was good but nothing in public.
“But the club didn’t say anything at the time, I had PFA and Kick It Out asking me questions about that. With me and the club that left a little sour taste but that was the only negative thing that I’d say about them.
“I had problems at Millwall when I was with Southend but Phil Brown, the manager at the time, was great and publicly backed me.”
After leaving Fleet he attracted interest from Torquay and Halifax, with Billericay and Dartford also keen on securing his services.
McGlashan’s focus now, however, is looking forward. He wants to establish himself at his new club and prove there’s still plenty left in the tank.
“I speak to a few of the pros around my age and there’s a lot of stigma when you get to 30-plus in the game,” he said. “In life you are still young but in football you are seen as getting older.
“I’ve looked after myself more than ever now though. I’m in good shape and I’ll have to do that out here with the temptation of the nice food.
“I feel fresh and good and it’s part of a challenge for me to prove that I can play abroad.
“I’m here to play as a winger, they like to play a 4-2-3-1 so I can play left or right.
“They all speak Greek and English but I’ve only got one option, English, so it’s hard at times when they’re talking in Greek but I’m picking bits up.”