Bittersweet day for Hitchin as Canaries celebrate survival but say goodbye to a favourite son

Dan Webb receives a guard of honour for his 400th and final game for Hitchin Town.

Dan Webb receives a guard of honour for his 400th and final game for Hitchin Town. - Credit: PETER ELSE

Hitchin Town celebrated their survival in Southern League Premier Division Central by beating Bromsgrove Sporting on the final day - before paying tribute to a retiring hero.

Dan Webb clocked up game number 400 for the Canaries in the 1-0 win at Top Field but the skipper believes that is the perfect time to hang his boots up.

Jake Hutchinson scores the only goal of the game for Hitchin Town against Bromsgrove Sporting.

Jake Hutchinson scores the only goal of the game for Hitchin Town against Bromsgrove Sporting. - Credit: PETER ELSE

Biggleswade Town's defeat on Thursday at Tamworth meant all the pressure was off the home club for the last game of the season and Jake Hutchinson's goal ensured the defender, who played his first game for the club in 2012, with six seasons as captain, and scored 40 goals, went out on a high.

Speaking before the game, he said: "After so many years, this is a difficult decision but in my opinion, a necessary one.

"I cannot believe it has come around so quickly but regardless of how many games and years it’s been, I feel it’s the right time for both myself and for the club.

"I am proud and privileged to have played and captained the side for as long as I have and have met so many great people because of it.

"What’s next for me? I’ve not thought any further than getting on a plane (or two) this summer.

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"I certainly won’t stop playing football altogether, I’m not sure I could function without kicking a few balls out of play.

"It is goodbye but I won’t be a stranger and wish the football club and all those involved, all the best in the future."

He thanked his wife, Nikki, and his family as well as numerous people at the club, including the fans and manager Mark Burke, saying the latter had "taught me my trade as centre half and converted me from a slow, chubby pub-player into a slow, less chubby, non-league player who enjoys the pub".

Dan Webb and Mark Burke at the end of the skipper's 400th and final game for Hitchin Town.

Dan Webb and Mark Burke at the end of the skipper's 400th and final game for Hitchin Town. - Credit: PETER ELSE

Burke himself was effervescent in his praise for Webb.

He said: "’Dan has been an absolute rock in all the teams I have built in the 10 years he has been with the club. I really want to thank him for his service to the club over those 400 games.

"Together we have seen many highs and lows but he has always given Hitchin 100 per cent effort and commitment."