STROUD-BORN goalkeeper Stuart Nelson is a free agent after leaving Gillingham by mutual consent.

Nelson,36, a former Notts County, Leyton Orient, Doncaster Rovers, Brentford, Norwich City and Aberdeen keeper, joined the Gills in the summer of 2012 on a two-year contract and was an ever present as Gillingham clinched the League Two title.

His contract was extended by a further two years in the summer of 2014, having been voted the club’s `Player of the Year` at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. Nelson, who started his career at Cirencester Academy,  has since gone on to make 223 appearances for the club which puts him third on the all-time list of goalkeeper appearances for Gillingham.

Here is his emotional farewell message to the fans: “To my Gills family. `All good things come to an end` as they say and that is now what’s happened. From the moment I walked through the door in July 2011 you backed me and treated me as one of your own. I’ve been truly blessed to have had such a fantastic support over the last five-and-a-half years.

“Sadly the time is now for me to move on to a fresh start and a new challenge. I came here with targets and I’m pleased to say I hit those targets I set, and more. I am a League Two Champion, I was voted into the PFA divisional team, I’m now placed third in the all-time appearances for a goalkeeper at GFC and to top it off you have voted me your POTY and overall in the top three for all but one of the full seasons I’ve been here.

“I’ve had so many highs here that I can’t say about them all now but I can say I’m very proud and honoured for every second that I’ve had the Gills badge on my chest.

“This time out of the team has not been a waste for me. I’ve been working even harder, putting in even more hours to work at my game, my strength and my conditioning and I am now the fittest I’ve been in my whole career and also been able to fine tune many aspects of my game.

“Now is the time to set new targets and go out and achieve them like I have here.

“I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your continued support throughout my Gills career, you’ve all been amazing!

"I wish our boys all the best for the rest of the season and beyond, and I look forward to coming back one day and standing side by side with you at the Rainham End supporting our lads.

"Up the Gills." Nels.