I remember James' debut at Friars in Capel (There may at one time have been some video footage of the game), he was lauded as a new striker and I had fancied myself as the clubs third striker at the time. James was left on the bench in favour of Ross Leeks and Chris Foster up top that morning and by the second half we trailled the game 3-1. He was brought on and in addition I was moved forward from left back to give us three strikers. It was me that added our second goal and thought that that would put paid to this usurper of my additional matches as striker.
He was not to be deterred, starting his next game, away to Occold, another game in which I scored and he did not! Soon his goal scoring talents would be unleashed, four games in and he hit a brace against Bucklesham Wanderers and then another against Vikings and his fifth goal, in three weeks, against Carlton Park Rangers (a game in which I missed a penalty in the shoot-out). The tide had turned and he finished that season with seven in 12 games. If the tide had turned, it well and truely rushed in for the next four seasons, James hit double figures every season and finishing leading scorer three season in a row between 06/07 and 08/09.
James agreed to be part of the newly formed Reserve team and again showed his pedigree to the younger players, ending leading scorer in the first two seasons. His experience, leadership and integrity lended itself to him becoming captain. He proved instrumental in assisting me to instill the good discipline, fun, competitiveness and respectfulness that the First Team had worked so hard to create into the Reserve Team.
He fittingly ended his time with Playford with a goal, his 120th in fact, it was quite literally his last touch as a Playford player that resulted in his goal.
James went from being a roadblock to my footballing aspirations (I was young then!) - to my first ever Manager's Player - to my chosen captain for the Reserves. Other than signing off with a goal, one of his other final acts was to put in one of the best crosses I have been on the recieving end of. It allowed me to make simple work of steering the ball past the 'keeper to give us a 2-1 lead. It has been an absolute pleasure sharing the field with you. Thank you for 13 years.