Joe Skarz says his time at Golcar United left him with some of the best memories of his football career.
The former Huddersfield Town, Bury, Oxford United and Rotherham United defender this week called time on his three-and-a-half year spell at the club.
Skarz, 34, made 98 appearances for the club and was also a key part of the managerial team alongside joint bosses Ash and Gav Connor.
He was an integral part of the team which won the play-off final in 2022 and that which reached the final of the League Cup last season.
Skarz, who played his last game in the 2-0 home defeat to Rossington on Tuesday, said the time was right to leave Golcar.
“I have nothing but good words to say about Golcar and I’ve loved every minute of my time at the club,” he said.
“Sometimes you just know yourself when it’s time to move on and I think I’ve given all I can.”
Skarz, who battled back from a debilitating back injury this summer, said he’d had some great times at Golcar, pointing out promotion via the play-offs but also the dramatic League Cup semi-final against Emley in April which ended in a 13-12 penalty shoot-out victory.
“I have lots and lots of great memories, some of the best of my career,” said Skarz. “Obviously the play-off final against Holker Old Boys was brilliant because of the hard work that all the lads had put in over the season.
“That group of lads were brilliant. People wrote us off after we went from second to third and Bury pulled away. We were in bad form going into the play-offs but we showed character to pull it round.
“There were lots of games I look back on, not least Emley in the semi-final. It was 0-0 and they are a really good team but we held our nerve to beat them in the shoot-out.”
Skarz took the decision to leave Golcar after Tuesday’s game and admitted to a sleepless night before he broke the news to chairman Peter Gledhill and Ash and Gav Connor.
It was also tough saying goodbye to the players, many of whom he has played with since he joined the club such as skipper Dan Stocker and centre-back Kiero Lawrence.
“Out of my 98 games I must have played along Kiero in 84 of them,” he said. “Hopefully I’ve helped him develop as a player.”
Joe Skarz and his dad Keith with the promotion trophy and below the promotion winning squad. Images by: SEAN DOYLE
Player development is something that Skarz is passionate about and he’s still working in the Academy at Rotherham United, coaching the under-13s and under-16s. He previously worked as a youth coach at Sheffield United.
Skarz paid tribute to Ash and Gav Connor for the amazing job they’ve done for the club over the last 10 years.
“I don’t think they get enough appreciation for the work they’ve done,” he said. “They took this club semi-pro three or four years ago and in the first full season got promoted out of a tough league.
“Then last season we started quite slowly but turned it around and finished in the top 10 and with a cup final appearance, so it’s not a bad achievement!
“When I sat down with Ash and Gav at the start to set out what we wanted to achieve I think we’ve almost done everything we could have hoped for.
“I’d perhaps like us to have got into the league above but this division is tough with some really good teams so it’s not that easy.
“That would have been the perfect ending but I can look back and stay I have put my all into it.”
This summer Skarz suffered the agony of a slipped disc in his back which was pressing on a nerve but he’s now fit again and, at the age of 34, still intends to play on.
“I don’t know what will happen yet but I still love playing,” said Skarz. “I’m going to take some time but I suppose on a Saturday afternoon when I’m walking round town with the missus I’ll be itching to be playing again!”