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Cody McDonald on his decision to leave Gillingham and sign for AFC Wimbledon instead

By Luke Cawdell

Cody McDonald admitted he regrets leaving the Gills when he did.

The prolific striker couldn’t agree a new deal with Gillingham at the end of the 2016/17 season.

McDonald gave an insight into the big decision he faced after being this week’s guest on the KM Football Podcast. He had to choose between job security and the club he loved.

Cody McDonald during his time at the Gills Picture: Andy Jones
Cody McDonald during his time at the Gills Picture: Andy Jones

Speaking openly about the discussions, he said: “When I look back on it now I regret leaving there. At the time family comes first and they only offered me a year contract.

“Reduced money wasn’t overly a problem but I just wanted the two years and a bit of security at the age of 30. To take me to 32 would have gone a long way.

“In hindsight now I probably could have taken it because I only spent a year at Wimbledon but that’s football and you learn by your mistakes.”

He left the Dons after just a year, cancelling his contract halfway through. The striker would later join Ebbsfleet United.

Those negotiations at Gills were black and white for McDonald, who scored 81 goals for the club. Money wasn’t an issue but the length of the deal was.

He said: “I always felt I had a decent enough relationship with the club, the chairman and the manager (Ady Pennock) at the time and I always thought we would get something done.

Ady Pennock embraces Cody McDonald after he scores two crucial goals against Bristol Rovers Picture: Andy Jones
Ady Pennock embraces Cody McDonald after he scores two crucial goals against Bristol Rovers Picture: Andy Jones

“I felt I was playing well at the time and I knew I had other options, just incase, but I never really processed it until the season had finished.

"It was a few days after the last game, we had just stayed up away at Northampton. I had the meeting with the manager at the time, he said ‘yes we want to keep us, the money isn’t quite there that you’re on’.

“He said what they were offering but it was just for a year and I said, ‘well, if you can make that two then the money isn’t a problem, and I would sign the deal’ but we never got to that agreement and they didn’t offer the two but it’s nothing bad against the club, they felt that was the right direction to go.

“I felt it was the right time to go in my career, as I had been offered two years elsewhere, less money to what I had been offered at Gillingham so it wasn’t that I went for the money.

“It was a sad moment because I knew I would probably never play for them again but that’s football. I definitely played my best football at Gillingham, I enjoyed my time there thoroughly, it’s a great club.”

Read more: The latest sports news from Kent

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