The most dedicated one club man in Gloucestershire football history has called it a day on his playing career, as Tom Webb bows out on 718 appearances for Gloucester City.
Making his debut for the club in 2000/01 at just 16 years old, Webb, now 34, has been wrestling with the decision for nearly two years now as a career as the engine room at Gloucester finally began to take its toll.
The previous record appearance holder was Stan Myers, who made 413 appearances for the club, but Webb surpassed this in 2011 with the record having stood for over 50 years.
Remarkably, Webb has made nearly two thirds of his appearances for the club away from the City of Gloucester. 450 of Webb’s games have come whilst the club have been in exile following disastrous flooding in 2007 that destroyed the club’s Meadow Park stadium.
The long rumoured plan was for Webb to lead the Tigers out for the first game at their new stadium and then retire, however that idea is now on the shelf as Webb looks to pursue his coaching career.
Already a well respected secondary school rugby coach, Webb took up his first senior football coaching role at the beginning of the 2018/19 season as he was appointed player-coach under Marc Richards.
The Tigers were rocked this week when Richards left the club to take over at Hereford FC, taking assistant manager Will Morford and Performance Analyst Luke Brick with him.
Tributes have been pouring in all morning since the news was announced, with club owner Eamonn McGurk leading the plaudits in a statement on the club’s website.
“Loyalty in football is a very rare commodity these days and one club players are very few and far between. When you think of ‘One Club Men’ the names Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville and Steven Gerrard spring to mind. All were the embodiment of their respective Clubs and I believe we had and still have that in Tom, which is why I’m so pleased that he has made the step up into coaching.
The way he has represented Gloucester City on and off the field is a testament to him as a man and a player and is the living essence of what Gloucester City is about, passion, combativeness, a never say die attitude and above all integrity. I want to offer my personal thanks to him for the way he has represented Gloucester City and wish him all the best in the next phase of his career.”
Gloucester City continue in their search for their third manager in less than a year, with former Cardiff City head coach Kevin Nicholson one of the front runners to take over.