Chris Jones and Connor Welham after the game with Westbourne Season 20 Blog #8

Should playing alongside someone that was born after you starting playing football make you feel old? The idea of playing alongside someone born after I started with Playford back in September 1998 became a personal goal once the club reached 16 years old, so I have actually been waiting three years for this to happen. I have come very close with the recruitment of the quartet from Martlesham Youth, Ewan, Ellis, Max and Josh. The closest was Josh who was three months old when I was turning out against Gipping Valley. But on 5th of November 2017, my 400th appearance, Connor Welham joined the match against Westbourne in the 60th minute and he became the first player born after I made my competitive debut that I had played alongside for Playford. My record for Playford on Connor's birthday was; Played 38, scored 7.

Honestly I have never felt like the older man in the squads even when at 31 I was the only player over the age of 25 playing in the first ever Reserve Team game. I have always felt like the team has evolved and I have evolved along with it. In fact, whilst it is disappointing to lose players, as manager I enjoy evolving the team just as much as I enjoy rewarding our most loyal players. I currently have, what seems like at the moment, a massive job, of evolving (perhaps overhauling is more appropriate) the Reserve Team with Daryl stepping down and a number of players losing interest. But this type of change is not something I am afraid of but enjoy trying to do. I have no doubt some players fear change as it may put their places under threat, but change is always good and Playford will continue to be loyal to players that have put their heart into the club.

My next personal goal is either reaching 500 appearances or playing alongside the son of a player from the first decade of Playford, both of which could happen before 2023! If I'm still playing!

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