AFC Ludlow captain Jamie Marsh has announced his retirement from football with immediate effect, writes LEWIS DEAKIN.

Marsh has decided to give up the game, so he can spend more time with his family.

He wishes manager Dave Cooper and his ex-team-mates all the best for the rest of their West Midlands League Division Two campaign.

He said: “I’ve decided to retire with immediate effect due to family commitments. I wish all the lads well, and I’ll go and support AFC Ludlow whenever I can.

"My fitness is fine, it’s just unfair for me to have my children every other weekend; because I’m off playing football.

“I have been at Ludlow for a long time. Since I was 16 or 17-years-old. AFC Ludlow have been favourite football club, because of the high standard of football.”

AFC Ludlow have been boosted by the signing of former Division One Haughmond striker Nathan Hodge.

The former skipper is confident Hodge can fire fifth-placed AFC Ludlow to promotion glory.

He said: “Nathan is obviously going to bring goals, which is what I think AFC Ludlow have been lacking. He knows where the net is will pop up to win matches.”

Marsh added: “I think Nathan will help the younger players; despite him only being around a couple of years himself.”

For Marsh, being AFC Ludlow captain filled him with pride.

Marsh insists he loved being placed in a position of responsibility by boss Cooper.

He revealed that winning the league last year in Cooper’s first season at the helm was one of his career highlights.

He said: “It has been good to play under Dave. I wish him all the best. It’s a shame I have to retire. Winning the game against Market Drayton Town and winning the championship in Dave’s first year as manager at Ludlow are career highlights.

“I loved being club captain. I enjoyed leading out the side and motivating the team. I always talked and encouraged the lads around me.”

AFC Ludlow boss Dave Cooper insists he respects Marsh’s decision.

The boss praised Marsh for his performances on and off the pitch for AFC Ludlow.

However, Cooper admits the club must now move on and name a new captain.

He said: “I understand that family is a big commitment. I thought Jamie might have changed his mind - but he didn’t. Jamie has said how it’s going to be and we will move on as a club. I already have a new captain in mind.”

Cooper added: “Jamie never let me down. That is why I gave him the captaincy.”

Luke Hicks, Jamie Price, and Hodge will miss Saturday’s home match against Penkridge Town.

Saturday’s game at the Showtime Stadium kicks off at 2pm. Admission is £3 for adults and £1 for children.

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