Date Posted: 19/01/2017
Forward Marc McGrath has confirmed that he is stepping away from playing for Guernsey FC with immediate effect.
The 30-year-old explained that his commitments outside of football have superseded those he has to the Green Lions.
"With that in mind, I feel I am not able to commit 100% to the team, which is what you need to play at this level," McGrath told GuernseyFC.com. "Being around only some of the time and not showing full commitment is unfair on the rest of the squad and the management and could stall the progress of someone who is able to give that commitment.
"I do not intend to train with GFC - however, I will be there to support the club as a spectator."
McGrath does not even plan to play Priaulx football locally and suggested his decision to step away from GFC was permanent rather than just taking a bit of time out.
"I've already had three requests from Priaulx clubs asking what my plans are, but my intention at this time is to not play Priaulx football. You can never say never, but as it stands right now my decision on GFC is permanent and it's highly unlikely that you'll see me in a Green Lions shirt again."
'Crusher' made his debut for Tony Vance's side as a substitute against Bookham in March 2011, agreeing to help out with many of the squad representing the island representative side against Alderney in the Muratti semi-final the same day. He came off the bench to score in a 7-0 win.
He originally had no plans to be involved further, but answered the call as Vance looked to boost his squad numbers for the gruelling 2012-13 run in of 32 days due to weather-related postponements and our fantastic FA Vase run to the semi-finals. He netted seven times in eight games (only three starts!) - including some important winning goals. He then chose to commit fully to GFC
"That run gave me the buzz of playing regularly for Guernsey in front of big crowds that I hadn't expected when GFC first started," he said.
He became an almost ever-present after that, missing just six matches over the next two seasons (playing in 95 out of 101 games), and became a fans' favourite with his non-stop running and goalscoring exploits.
His commitment was even more admirable given he would travel often without the guarantee of starting due to the form of Ross Allen. He had to adapt to a new role in a wide position and did a great job for the team. His goal in the Ryman South play-off semi-final against Leatherhead almost sparked a comeback from 3-0 down, but Guernsey eventually lost 3-2.
A long-term knee injury to Allen in the 2014-15 saw Crusher employed regularly in his preferred role up front and he duly delivered - scoring 23 times with a strike rate of a goal every other game to end up as the club's top scorer that season. His golden boot prize was part of a triple haul at the end-of-season dinner, with his fellow players and the supporters voting for him in their respective awards.
Injury kept him out for a large chuck of last season and he has played a less prominent role in this campaign due to outside commitments that have ultimate led to his decision to call it a day.
But he is grateful for all the 'amazing' experiences he has had with the club.
"I've loved every minute of it," he said. "Obviously the highlight for me was getting the recognition and rewards I received a few seasons back, but being part of that hectic second-season run-in and making an important contribution to our promotion against the odds is right up there too.
"GFC is a unique club and for me to be able to say I have been part of it is a great honour. I believe the squad has the quality to be able to stay in this league and I wish them all the best for the rest of the season."
Crusher ends his GFC career with 52 goals to his name in 144 appearances - a strikerate better than one in three - putting him fifth on the Green Lions' overall top-scorer list behind Ross Allen (225), Dom Heaume (88), Dave Rihoy (58) and Matt Loaring (54).
It would have been 51 but for an own-goal by a Hastings United defender being incorrectly awarded to him in 2-0 win in November 2013. It was therefore committed to Ryman League record and makes it part of his official statistics!
"I was nowhere near that one but they wrongly gave it to me - I wasn't going to say no!", he later joked. "If it's official, I hope they can't take it away from me!"
The news of his GFC exit comes just a few days after young forward Kyle Smith confirmed he has signed for St Martin's as he is unable to commit to away games because of juggling two jobs and therefore does not expect Tony Vance to prioritise him for home matches. McGrath hopes one of the other young players will seize the opportunity to become a regular.
"With two forward players stepping back recently, there is definitely an opportunity for one of the younger lads to make an attacking position their own," he said. "The youngsters that are being introduced at this level are very lucky to have GFC as a platform to start their footballing career. I hope they make the most of it and that a few of the young players who have drifted away come back into it and realise the fantastic opportunity available to them if they embrace it.
"Finally, I would like to thank all at GFC for my time with the club - and especially to Tony Vance for giving me the opportunity to play at such a high level. I'd also like to thank the supporters - without them, the team wouldn't be were they are. I hope to be one of them cheering on the lads at Footes Lane every other week."
Everyone at Guernsey FC is very sorry to be losing Crusher as an important member of the squad, but thank him for all the effort and commitment he has given to the team over the last few years and wish him all the best for the future.