Ryan Hayes quits Dartford for Concord Rangers: It's the hardest decision I've ever had to make in football
RYAN HAYES has announced his departure from Dartford, just hours after the club appointed Adam Flanagan and Jamie Coyle as the successors to the legendary Tony Burman, who stepped down as manager last Thursday.
Winger Hayes, 32, was Dartford’s longest serving player, having arrived from now defunct club Slade Green in 2004.
Hayes’ last game for the club was to be the 1-0 home defeat to Braintree Town in the Vanarama National League Play-Off Semi-Final last Sunday.
The club suffered a heartbreaking final day of the season when they finished runners-up to champions Havant & Waterlooville, both clubs being tied on 86 points, Dartford losing out on the title and automatic promotion by three goals.
“Just like to start by saying a massive thank you to everyone connected with Dartford FC,” said Hayes on his Twitter account.
“Since the day I walked in to the DFC family it’s been an absolute pleasure to put on a Dartford shirt. I loved every minute of it!
“It’s the right time for me personally to move on. It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in football.
“I’ve met some of the greatest people you could hope to meet. I’ll miss the core (Elliot Bradbrook, Danny Harris and Lee Noble) like you wouldn’t believe.
“I’ll miss Princes Park, I’ll miss everything about being at Dartford FC.
“There is always lovers and haters anywhere you go but I always gave my all in a Dartford shirt.
“The three promotions were a massive high and I’ll never forget my time at Dartford.
“The DFC express will not stop moving and I do hope the best for the future.”
Hayes posted a photograph of him and Bradbrook, Harris and Noble on yesterday, sadly saying, “Goodbye my friends I’ll love u forever.”
Captain Bradbrook, meanwhile, paid tribute to Hayes for his performances during his time at the club.
He tweeted: “We are all in your debt Ryan. You were always the one who could do what the rest of us couldn’t. Thank you. #Legend.”
Hayes has signed a two-year contract at Vanarama National League South rivals Concord Rangers.
The Essex side are now managed by former Leatherhead manager Sammy Moore, who replaced Flanagan in the hot-seat.
Visit Dartford’s website: www.dartfordfc.com