Midfielder John Goddard’s departure from the club following the expiry of his contract has today been confirmed.
The former Woking and Swindon Town player joined the Fleet this same week last July after leaving Aldershot Town and scored on his debut on the opening day of the season at home to FC Halifax Town.
And while the 27-year-old will be plying his trade elsewhere next season, he has backed the club to achieve its aims in 2020/21. “The club have got good people in place now and I’m sure they and the fans will get the success they deserve in the coming years. I think with the changes going on at the club, with Damian Irvine coming in, with Steve Lovell doing what he’s doing this summer and now Dennis Kutrieb as new manager as well, the fans will have a better season to look forward to.”
2019/20 was an injury-hit campaign for Goddard whose ankle injury in the autumn disrupted his season before he made a comeback at Christmas, totalling 23 appearances in all.
“It was an uphill battle and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb at the start. We turned things around gradually but my injury was a bit of a nightmare, four months in the end I think I was out, but one of my first starts back we were down to 10 men so it was a case of being thrown into the fire a little bit.
“But we turned a corner as a club and group of players. I’ll always remember the Halifax game with everything that surrounded it, the last game to be played before coronavirus and on TV. The last 10 or so games were much better after Barrow away, we drew a line in the sand, built on the positive result at Torquay. I’m adamant that if the league had continued we’d have been just fine and we’d have sucked a couple more clubs underneath us.”
And Goddard praised the Fleet fans who maintained support of their team – and himself individually through his injury period.
“They went above and beyond with their support. You really find out about a fanbase when you’re struggling. Everyone can turn up and cheer when you’re doing well but even at Barrow, it was a low point obviously, but going over to the fans after the game and they were still with us. Most fanbases would have turned on you by then but they were still willing us on to do better. We owed it to them to turn things round, they deserved better and they got it and it’s just a shame the season ended as it did.”
Goddard will now make a decision on his future but stresses it won’t be easy leaving the Fleet.
“It’s not been an easy decision, I’ve had a couple of weeks thinking about things on a personal level about what I do next. It’s an odd time and frustrating for players and clubs with the coronavirus. I want to play at the highest level possible but things are still uncertain in football. I live in Reading so the location wasn’t ideal and now it’s a case of sitting down with my family and looking at the options. I’ve used lockdown to keep fit and improve even more after my injury so I’m looking forward to whatever the future holds.”
Everyone at the club wishes John the very best of luck in the future and we thank him for all his commitment during the past season at the Fleet.