Aaron Downes will retain cast iron links with Chesterfield FC even though he has been released by the Spireites.
The central defender, who was with the club for eight years, is now a free agent and has been talking about his future as a professional footballer with more than one club.
He said: “I’d like to thank the club and the fans for supporting me throughout my career. I’m very grateful to them. Chesterfield is a great family club.’’
The 27-year-old player retains many friends at the B2net while his wife Michelle is manager of the club shop.
He said: “Whatever happens, I’ll still retain a strong link with Chesterfield. The people who work at the club are mates and I still see them.’’
Downes arrived in 2004 and made a total of 184 appearances for the Blues, scoring 12 goals.
A commanding figure at the heart of the defence, Downes played for Australia U20s and U23s and swept the board in the Chesterfield player of the year honours in 2006/7.
But his career took a turn for the worse when he injured his knee in the home game against Darlington in April 2009.
The cruciate ligament problem kept him out until January the following year but his comeback lasted just a handful of games before it erupted again. This time around, the injury kept Downes sidelined for a whole season.
He has been studying for a sports journalism degree at Staffordshire University and part of his course included writing a football column for the Derbyshire Times.
He kicked off last season as a member of John Sheridan’s first-team squad before moving on loan to Bristol Rovers in January. Downes’ last game for the Spireites was in the 3-2 defeat at Wycombe in December and he went on to make nine appearances for the Pirates.