Forres Mechanics' longest serving player Simon Allan tells why he changed his mind on retiring from football to sign up for another Highland League season at Mosset Park
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“PLAY as long as you can” – that was the advice ringing in Simon Allan’s ears when he considered retiring from Highland League football.
The Forres Mechanics veteran has signed a new one-year deal, and will take part in his club’s return to the league this summer.
Allan, who will be 36 by the time the campaign gets under way, admits he was ready to quit, but made a U-turn on his decision to call it a day.
“I was going to hang up the boots,” he said.
“But so many people say to you ‘play as long as you can’, so I’ll play for one more year, and see what happens after that.
“Craig Ewen (Cans assistant manager) messaged me asking if I would stay one more year, and I said I would think about it. Then Charlie (manager Rowley) messaged me a couple of weeks ago asking me what I thought, and I said I feel quite fit, so I might as well try and stay to play for another year.
“I was going to stay last season and have one more, but the way it finished I didn’t want to retire and go out like that.”
Allan was approached by Deveronvale when Forres took their year out last term, to see if he fancied a season in Banff. “I would have been interested but it was too far away and made the decision not to go there - the way the season unfolded it looked like the right decision.
“It was in the back of my mind that I wasn’t sure if I could pull on another shirt in the Highland League other than Forres.”
The stopper believes this will be at least his 16th season at his hometown club, and he is one of a number of long-serving players to stay on at Mosset Park.
“As well as myself, there’s Knighty (Stuart Knight), Soaney (Stuart Soane), Robbie Duncanson and Chucky (Ross Macpherson), who between us have a lot of experience,” he said.
“It speaks for itself the amount of boys who have stayed so long at Forres. I’ve never seen a club have so many testimonials consecutively, and that says so much about the club.
“But it’s always been a good mix with the young players coming through and we’ve got a few of them. We’re bringing in Ruari Fraser, who I think will be a brilliant signing for us as he fitted in perfectly with us when he was on loan from Ross County.
“I’m just delighted to still be here. It’s my hometown club and I love playing for Forres. If I wasn’t, I would be down watching them every Saturday.
“This year I’ve been working away quite a lot and if I’m away I occasionally go out for a jog. It’s been enough to keep me ticking over – I definitely need that, when I stop doing anything it’s all the harder getting back to it.”