ONE of Malvern Town's most popular figures has decided to hang up his boots.

Matt Turner, or Milky as he is known by most, scored the hat-trick that fired The Hillsiders back to Step 4 after 14 years back in the summer in that memorable promotion/relegation play-off match at Highworth Town. 

He has been playing at Malvern for 12 years and has played a major role in two promotions in that period, but has now seen it fit to bring his career to an end.

“It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make,” said Turner. “Football has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and I have committed near the entirety of my senior football career to Malvern Town and it’s going to leave a big hole.

“When I set out at the start of this season, I thought that it may be my last for the club. It has come to an end slightly more prematurely than planned, but I felt that the time was right, and I am looking forward to spending more time with the family.

“I will continue to support the lads from afar and will get down when possible.

“The club has made immense progress during my time here, both on and off the field. I joined the club shortly after Pinds [Chair, Chris Pinder] had taken over and ever since that moment the club has gone from strength-to-strength.

“The facilities, the pitch, the professionalism has been rebuilt from the ground up and has become the foundations for the on-field success that the club has seen over the last few years.

“I would like to think that I have played my part in that progression on the field building on what Chris has done for the club off the field.”

Chairman Chris Pinder heaped praise on a player who has been with him every step of the journey so far.

"He came to the club with me as a friend from Sunday League football and has left a goalscoring and promotion-securing legend," he said.

“He’s made history as part of the playing squad and he has contributed so much to the progression of this football club.

"Players like him are becoming increasingly rare in the modern game and we will be eternally grateful for the commitment that he has shown to the cause alongside the goals that have helped to fire the club to where it is today.

"It is the end of an era but Milky will always be welcome here and deservedly takes his place as a club legend“ 

The last word has to go to co-manager Lee Hooper, who both played and managed Turner during his equally long Malvern career.

“Milky has been a big part of what we have built on the pitch over the last six years,” he said.

“He has been a special player and scored some very important goals, none more important than the play-off hat-trick last season, which got us promotion to Step 4.

“He has been very loyal, giving over a decade of service which, these days, is very rare. He’s had opportunities to move on to other clubs along the way but remained on the journey with us and helped the club win two promotions in three seasons.

“A proper handful for any centre half that came up against him, he has been a big character in the changing room and around the club and we are going to miss his presence around the place.

“I want to thank Milky for his loyalty, commitment, effort and goals over the years, which we as a club are truly grateful for."