We can announce that long serving midfielder Lloyd Kerry is to retire at the end of the season and take on the new role at Harrogate Town as our Head of Player Recruitment.
The 33-year-old joined Town back in 2014 and is our longest current serving player, having featured in more than 220 games. During his eight-year journey with Town, Kerry has won promotion from the National League North and the National League, starting at Wembley on that historic day in August 2020 when the club reached the Football League for the first time in its history.
The all action, hard hitting midfielder lifted silverware at Wembley again just a year later in the FA Trophy and will go down as Harrogate Town club legend for his achievements and service to the club.
Lloyd's last game will be on the final day of the season when we host Sutton United on Saturday 7th May. The fixture will be a chance to celebrate our midfielder's career and pay tribute to his eight years of service at the club.
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In his new role as Head of Player Recruitment, Kerry will oversee the scouting of talented players for both the first team and academy, and in doing so helping to continue the club's evolution. Lee Barraclough will be working closely with Lloyd to complete the recruitment team.
I look back to when I first joined this football club in 2014 to where it is now eight years on and it's unbelievable how far we've come and the success we've had! I'm grateful to have been on that journey which has created so much history for this club, I can always look back with pride of what we achieved together.
We've made memories that will last us a lifetime and to have played my part is something I'll never forget.
The National League North Play Off Winners, National League Play Off winners, FA Trophy winners and playing at Wembley twice is something you only dream of as a kid.
To add to those memories, I've got some personal favourites including scoring against Southend in the club's first ever game in the Football League, scoring live on Sky Sports away at Bradford City and beating Portsmouth away in the second round of the FA Cup.
I can be very satisfied with what I've achieved as a player at this club and now I'm hoping to have a positive impact off the field taking up my new role of Head of Recruitment. It's something that excites me and to get to stay at this club is one of the main reasons I've taken the role. I'm grateful to be given this opportunity and can't thank the Manager enough for what he's done for me over the years.
I also want to thank the Chairman, staff and all the players I've shared a dressing room with, without you the club wouldn't be where it is today.
Finally, you, the fans, you're the heart of the club, the people who live for this club, travel up and down the country spending your hard-earned money watching the team, I salute you and thank you for all your support. We've always had a special bond and I hope you look back at my performances for the club and know I always gave everything for the badge.
Manager, Simon Weaver:
Lloyd originally signed way back in 2014 from Tamworth and I remember I went to a night game where they played Hereford and were going strong. It was amazing how many second balls that Lloyd won. He distributed the ball quickly, got on the end of things and then hit the bar and actually scored, so I thought I was signing an attacking midfielder!
He was a great all-rounder and just a really brave lad. It actually wasn't the smoothest of starts between us, and Lloyd went out on loan a couple of times but when he returned, we had a good chat and he seemed to just take off.
His form over the years has been so consistent, racking up 100s of games for us and playing in our biggest games. He was outstanding in both play off finals and the FA Trophy. Even looking at this year against Portsmouth in the FA Cup, he was just a man possessed.
He's suffered horrific injuries at times but always come back better than ever before. I remember following the ambulance up to the hospital in Halifax when he fractured his cheek bone and had a concave shape to it. I felt devastated for him as he's such a brilliant lad. I actually questioned being in the job as I didn't want to see lads like Lloyd hurt from working for us. He got over that mental scar though and got better and better.
In footballing terms, we'll miss him being in the squad and he's without doubt a club legend in my eyes and in many who have followed Harrogate Town over the years.
There's an opportunity for the club to evolve and with Lloyd, we know we're going to get that tenacity that he's shown in midfield over the years. He's part of the furniture here and wears the badge with pride and will continue to do so when he's out scouting games looking for future talent. We're so proud he's agreed terms to remain at the club and play an integral part in the club's future.
Chairman, Irving Weaver:
On a cold winters night in 2014, Simon and I travelled to watch Lloyd who then played for Tamworth and he slotted home the winner into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the box, I can still picture the image. That was the final trigger for Simon to sign ‘our man' and over eight years later we are more than grateful for his contribution, honesty and loyalty to the Club.
Together we have enjoyed some great moments, particularly promotions and winning the FA Trophy.
However, it has not always been plain sailing… At an away game at Halifax in the National League, with a crunching tackle (as usual) he smashed an eye socket and cheek bone as his face met a resilient knee.
In a home match, not long ago, as he turned out of a tackle, the ref being in his way caused him to wrench his knee and snap his cruciate ligament. Typically, ‘Lloydy' grafted his way back to fitness with gruelling endeavour.
In his last season, how fitting that he should pounce onto the Portsmouth centre half, 5ft 7 against 6ft 4, pinch the ball and feed it to Luke Armstrong for him to score our first goal of a memorable second round win.
Lloyd moves on to a new roll with the club, now responsible for scouting and recruiting new players and he's already beginning to make his mark, just like he has in 220+ games for Town.
Harrogate Town AFC would like to say a massive thank you to Lloyd for his commitment to the club on and off the pitch, and we look forward to having him with us for the next part of our journey.