NON-LEAGUE legend Taffy Richardson admitted to experiencing an unexpected wave of emotion having hung up his boots to become Poole Town’s first-team coach.
The 47-year-old midfield warhorse today brought down the curtain on a glittering playing career which featured more than 1,000 senior appearances in semi-professional football, over 400 of which came during trophy-laden stints with Dolphins.
Having started last season at Bashley, Richardson returned to Tatnam and assisted with coaching duties before dual-registering with Wessex League club Bournemouth Poppies in December.
Dorset football’s version of Peter Pan revealed he had received offers to continue playing elsewhere, while Poole boss Tom Killick insisted he “would never shut the door if the situation warranted” a return to on-field action next season.
But Richardson felt the opportunity to play his part in Poole’s promotion assault was just too good to turn down, even if he could never replicate the sensation of playing.
Lifting the lid on his decision, Richardson told the Daily Echo: “I don’t feel too bad about it but when I start saying it and take it all in, it becomes that bit more emotional.
“I have been thinking about it for a while but now it has become reality, it has hit home that a big part of my life has gone.
“It has been so good. I have been lucky enough to meet so many tremendous people throughout my career and I have made some life-long friendships.
“I was never good enough to be a professional player but never got the feeling that I was missing out because of the close relationships I built up. I feel so fortunate for that.
“Nothing will ever be the same as playing, scoring or winning.
"I might be wrong but I have coached before and it just doesn’t compare because you can’t beat the buzz of getting an important goal or winning a big game.
"The coaching gives you a different reward and still a great feeling of achievement. If you get the drills right and the team plays the way the manager wants, you still get a kick out of it.”
But while the old master may not be taking to the pitch next season, Richardson insists there will be no let up in his pursuit of success in his new role.
“There’s no point in doing anything in life if all you’re out to do is survive,” he added.
“You have to progress and I know Tom Killick, James Wood and so many other people at Poole feel the same.
“Last season, we failed a little bit but we will get stronger for that.
"There’s a mentality we need to have because we slipped up against lower sides and those matches have to be won this time. We have got to win promotion.”