JOE Fowler has admitted being “gutted” to leave FC Clacton.

The goalkeeper has joined Thurlow Nunn League premier division rivals Brantham Athletic.

Fowler made his decision for “football reasons”, because he feels he can develop under (Brantham manager) Paul Abrahams and (assistant) Steve Downey.

Nevertheless, he admitted it was a wrench to be leaving his friends and team-mates at the Rush Green Bowl.

“I’m gutted to have left Clacton,” said last season’s supporters’ player-of-the-year and joint players’ player, who has already been replaced at the Bowl by former Woodbridge Town keeper Liam Daniels.

“It was the hardest decision I’ve had to make in football.

“We were a tight-knit group and I had great relationships with the players and supporters.

“Everyone was fantastic to me and I’ll always look back on it as a very happy year in my football career.

“It was never going to be an easy decision to leave, but in many ways I felt I needed to be selfish and make the best move in terms of career development.

“And I feel I’ve done that by joining Brantham."

For the full story, see this week's Gazette.