“The last three years have been nothing but a pleasure. Looking forward to the next challenge.” were Will Grocott’s parting words to supporters on Twitter as he announced that he would not be at Town next season thereby making him the third high profile departure from Town this summer after Jamie McAteer and Thomas Baillie.
Will had been Town’s midfield playmaker for those past three seasons, but it may be a surprise for some more recent Town supporters to realise that Will is in his second spell with the Club having made his debut back in the 2011/12 season.
Only 19 years old he was brought in by the then Town boss Morton Titterton on a short term loan from Tamworth and came on from the subs bench during the second half of the midweek away MFA game at Dunkirk on October 25th 2011.
And as a foretaste of what was to come he marked his arrival on the pitch after just ten minutes with what the match report describes as “a tremendous individual strike as from 25 yards out he hit an absolute screamer which flew into the top corner of the net.”
But he only played in the next two games before moving on, and didn’t return until the start of the 2016/17 season when Carl Adams persuaded him to switch from Kettering.
And it didn’t take long for Town fans to appreciate his quality as in only the sixth game of the season Town travelled to Kettering and came away with a 3-0 win over the stunned Poppies.
Will was credited with the “assist” for the first goal and hit the second with an exquisite right footer similar to his Dunkirk effort leaving one disgruntled Kettering fan to moan that “Grocott was the best player on the pitch and we’ve let him go.”
With his silky skills in the middle of the park and his pinpoint set piece deliveries he soon became a fans’ favourite and during the season he only missed four games making 51 appearances and contributing six goals.
Not surprisingly he made a clean sweep at the End of Season Presentation Evening walking off with the Supporters, Stratford Herald, Players and Manager’s Player of the Year Awards.
Realising his importance Carl Adams made it his priority to secure Will’s signature for the following season when he was once more pivotal in all the best Town performances and was again a virtual ever present with another 50 appearances out of 55 games and this time almost doubling his goals tally with 11.
He was one of only three of Carl Adams’ squad to survive to change of managers last season as first Darren Byfield and then Thomas Baillie took charge but was still an integral part of the team in spite of curiously being an unused substitute in the F A Cup defeat against Alvechurch.
And he scored what must have been Town’s Goal of the Season with his spectacular strike from the halfway line in the Southern League Cup tie at Alvechurch which propelled Town into the next round and onto their ultimate success in the Final against Cinderford.
The play off game at Kings Lynn was his 49th of the campaign and seemingly his final Town appearance taknig his overall total to 153 while he ended with 21 goals.
Although disappointed to see him go all Town fans will thank him for his efforts in a Town shirt and wish him well for the future not only on the field but also in his full time coaching role with Rugby Town’s Academy and Youth squads.