LONG Melford stalwart Mark Dack has decided to hang his boots after 29 years at the club – becoming what is believed to their longest ever serving player.
The 39-year-old centre-back, known affectionately as ‘Dacky’, joined the Villagers at under-9 level and bar two seasons at Stowmarket a decade ago, has been with the club ever since through reserves and first team level.
The number of appearances the former club captain has clocked up is not known but is thought to run well into the hundreds in a spell which has seen him reach two Suffolk Senior Cup finals at Ipswich’s Portman Road.
As assistant manager of the reserve team in recent years, he also helped nurture young talent into first team players.
Manager Jason Maher said: “I have only known Dacky a few years but its obvious to see that the bloke is held in the highest esteem by team-mates and fans alike such is his passion and commitment to the club and without doubt it will be a huge loss to the club.
“In my time at the club Mark has always been there for me as a player and a friend and someone who has always put the team first and this is what makes him a special character and one that is impossible to replace.”
Maher added there will always be a role for him at Melford, should he wish to continue to play a part off-the-field at the club.
Vice chairman Simon Garden said along with chairman Alf Woodhouse, he wished to thank Dack for his loyal service.
“He is the ultimate Mr Dependable who would often play through the pain barrier for the benefit of the club,” he said.
“A person you can always rely upon and someone who will always offer younger players his advice. Dacky will always receive a warm welcome at Stoneylands.”