Hitchin Town fan favourite Brett Donnelly says thanks for the memories as he leaves Top Field after four years

PUBLISHED: 15:12 08 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:12 08 May 2018

Brett Donnelly celebrates scoring for Hitchin

Brett Donnelly celebrates scoring for Hitchin

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Hitchin Town loyal servant Brett Donnelly has left his hometown club after four seasons at Top Field to become number two at Biggleswade Town.

Brett Donnelly, bottom, and Lucas Kirkpatrick celebrate the former's goal against Weymouth. Picture: Peter ElseBrett Donnelly, bottom, and Lucas Kirkpatrick celebrate the former's goal against Weymouth. Picture: Peter Else

Following a season where he helped the Canaries to Southern League cup silverware and a top half finish, Donnelly walks away from Mark Burke’s side to take up a dual player/assistant manager role at his former club the Waders, under their new manager Lee Allinson.

The Canaries wished Brett all the best in his new appointment and thanked him for all his contributions to the club’s success during his time at the Fishponds Road outfit.

Speaking to CometSport, Donnelly said: “I can’t ever show my full appreciation for the last four years because it’s been as enjoyable as any time in my whole life.

“Roy Izzard (Hitchin’s secretary and club stalwart) has always been the first to say well done.

Brett Donnelly celebrates scoring for HitchinBrett Donnelly celebrates scoring for Hitchin

“That wasn’t always the case at Hitchin, I had some bad times there. I wasn’t very good and the club was in a dark place. That’s why I wanted to go back, to see if I could turn a few heads in my favour.

“A few of the fans were not having me at all so it was nice to go back and be part of a side that did so well and hopefully they’ll look back on me not as the terrible footballer they thought I was.”

The modest Donnelly will be remembered, and though he played many roles for boss Burke, he’ll be remembered in his favourite position: “Centre-forward, back to goal. Causing mischief, that’s what I like to do, upsetting the defenders,” he added.

“If the defenders are worrying about beating me up, it allows someone else to do what they can do with the ball.”

Brett Donnelly shoots from a narrow angle.Brett Donnelly shoots from a narrow angle.

Donnelly credits the end of the 2015-16 season as his best period, and his worst moment as the 2-1 2016-17 play-off final 2-1 defeat to Leamington as his worst at Hitchin.

“I said to Burke, in all the time I’ve played football that was the hardest defeat of my career by a mile. To be 1-0 up with 20 seconds before being promoted, and not do it.

“I was subbed off with about two-minutes to go. I’m the eternal pessimist but I sat down and thought, we’ve done it, we can’t lose from here. But we did.”

Now he believes it’s the right time to go and join Allinson at Biggleswade Town, another club he’s had a big effect on under the departing Chris Nunn.

Brett Donnelly is shown the red card. Photo: Peter ElseBrett Donnelly is shown the red card. Photo: Peter Else

Asked how much he expects to play, Donnelly said: “I’m going to be an assistant manager first and foremost and if I can I’ll play. I reckon I’ve got another year in me at this level but if I get to October or November and I’m struggling I’ll knock it on the head but I don’t feel too bad.”

The bitingly effective and versatile Donnelly scored 52-goals in 198 appearances for the Yellows. After brief spells between 2007 and 2009, he returned in 2014 to win three cups in his final three years at Hitchin.

Fan favourite Donnelly wrote on twitter after the announcement: “Massive thanks to Hitchin Town for the last four seasons. Been brilliant for me. Hometown club doing well has meant more to me than anyone can imagine.

“Committee, fans, management & teammates have all been top drawer. Hard to leave but a new challenge awaits. The opportunity to be Lee Allinson’s assistant was too good to turn down.”

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