Adam Tann says he has rediscovered his love of football during his first season playing at AFC Sudbury.
The Yellows ended their debut campaign in the Ryman League Premier Division with a 2-2 draw at Canvey Island on Saturday.
And despite finishing second from bottom and being relegated after just one season in the Ryman League’s top flight, central defender Tann revealed playing for Jamie Godbold’s side has helped to recapture his love of the game.
“The first thing to say is it was massively disappointing to get relegated,” the former Cambridge United and Notts County defender said.
“No one enjoys getting relegated, no one should, but as a whole, working with Jamie (AFC manager), strangely I have enjoyed elements of the season.
“Working with Jamie and Andy (Reynolds, assistant manager) and seeing their approach to football, the way they want to play, there are elements of the season I’ve certainly enjoyed.
“It’s given me my love back of football, which I lost a little bit for a year or so. It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling.”
The Yellows secured the services of Tann last June ahead of their maiden campaign at Step Four, and the former Football League defender has been an almost ever-present in the Sudbury defence, making 53 appearances in all competitions this season.
Only goalkeeper Marcus Garnham (54) featured in more games for Godbold’s side, and AFC fans will be desperate to see Tann in a yellow shirt again when they return to Ryman League Division One North next season.
But while Tann is open to being under the tutelage of Sudbury boss Godbold for another season, he admits his plans for 2017/18 have yet to be decided.
“I’ve got a few decisions to make,” Tann said. “I turn 35 next month and I’m getting to the tail end of my playing career now.
“I thought I did okay this season, from an individual perspective, but it was not quite enough to help us stay up.
“I played 53 games this season, which is not bad for an old boy! I’ve got a bit of soul searching to do during the summer and I’ll be speaking to Jamie and seeing what he wants to achieve next season.
“I would like to work with Jamie again, but I’ve got a few big decisions to make.”
Tann, who started out as a professional with Cambridge United back in 1999, has suffered relegation before in his career, when he was part of The U’s sides which were relegated in 2001/02 (from League One) and 2004/05 (from League Two).
“I’ve been relegated before as a player when I was at Cambridge United earlier on in my career, so it’s sort of come full circle,” he said.
“There will be a lot of reviewing and reflection to try and recognise what needs to be improved (at Sudbury).
“It’s a great club with great fans, great volunteers and from the chairman down it’s just a lovely set-up.
“I’ve never known such a high-spirited group of fans, even in adversity and after some disappointing performances the majority of them have been positive.”