FOOTBALL: Bevan wants to bow out with a title

Prolific striker Jody Bevan who is calling it a day at the end of the season

Prolific striker Jody Bevan who is calling it a day at the end of the season

First published in Sport Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

JODY BEVAN has decided to bring an end to his honourable career toiling on the non league coalface.

But the prolific Cirencester Town striker admits there is still time for some unfinished business before he quits at the end of the season.

“I was so chuffed to get my 250th goal this year and if the season were to end now I’d have to be happy,” said Bevan. “But fairy tales can happen and there is still the chance of gaining promotion or even winning the league – and that would be the cherry on top of a very good cake. That would be perfect.”

The 35-year-old Bevan has plied his trade with six different clubs over 17 seasons, some like Cirencester Town for more than one spell. But thoughts of retirement have only crossed his mind recently.

“I got myself very fit at the start of season and for most of the campaign I felt I could do this for years,” he said.

“But when I started some games recently I could see I wasn’t having the same impact as when I came off the bench.

“Three weeks ago the thought of calling it a day came to me and I mulled it over for two or three days and then told my missus ‘That’s it’.

“Ciren have been having such a successful season and I know they don’t come along very often. This is the right time.

“I loved the joy of winning promotion with Weston-super-Mare (2002-3) when we beat our big local rivals Clevedon to clinch the title. That’s as good as it gets.

“And to earn promotion with Cirencester through the play-offs (2009-10) was another highlight. There were no big-time Charlies in the team – we were not just footballers, we were mates.

“There are parallels with the current Ciren squad and the exciting thing is that it is a more youthful side – there is an exuberance about them and a willingness to learn.”

But Bevan revealed there have been hiccups along the way, notably after the defeat at Didcot at the end of last month which made it five games without a win, the team’s worst spell of the season.

“The dressing room after Didcot was the low point of the campaign,” said Bevan. “We had led twice and lost and you just could not see where our next point was coming from.

“It got very heated in there after the game. That was the straw that broke the experienced players’ backs. Fingers were pointed and things were said that needed to be said. It was a case of addressing the elephant in the room.

“Since that clearing-the-air session we have won our next four games and joined Merthyr at the top of the table on Saturday, albeit having played one game more.”

After almost 20 years of playing every Saturday along with training each Tuesday and Thursday evening while holding down a full time job, Jody admits he will take a short break from the game. But he wants to manage one day and he makes the distinction between a manager’s position and a coaching job, like the one which did not pan out too well for him at Shortwood last season.

“I have reservations about coaching part-time players – what can you do in an hour and half once or twice a week?” he said. “I am much more interested in the man management side of things.

“I guess I will have to do my apprenticeship for a year or two and ideally that would be under Hughesie at Ciren. But if he just wanted me to scout for him that would be fine, too.”

Guiding his own team from the dug-outs is some way off just yet but the lumbering, grey-haired but prolific goal machine insists he intends to make an impression along the way in Ciren’s title-chasing finale, saying: “I have told Hughesie, I still have one more big game in me.”

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