SIMON Browne has been told he is free to leave Weymouth.

Terras boss Steve Johnson has made the stalwart defender available on a free transfer following the club’s decision to turn full-time this summer.

Browne, who has been granted a testimonial at the Wessex Stadium, is now interesting Conference South rivals Dorchester Town and the 33-year-old’s former club Salisbury City.

Weymouth chairman Martyn Harrison today told Echosport: “With Lee Phillips and Steve Tully having left the club this week, that leaves only Jason Matthews, Ian Hutchinson and Simon Browne from the old guard still with us.

“The contracts of all three expire this summer but they have first class attitudes and give their all every time they are asked to represent Weymouth Football Club.

“In Simon’s case, our decision to turn full-time from the summer presents him with some difficulties and has been a factor in this decision.

“He’s got a good career so reluctantly we’ve told him he is free to find another club.

“We’ve spoken with Simon about the issue and he asked whether he could have a testimonial game before he left.

“He’s been a great servant over the years so we’ve naturally agreed that can happen whether he is still with us or not.

Browne’s first team opportunities have been limited since the arrival of teenage defender Charlie Welch from Yeovil Town last December.

Manager Johnson said: “Simon’s a talented player with great ability and a smashing attitude but I’ve told him he’s free to go.

“It’s no slight on him but I just think at his age he needs to be playing regularly, if not week in and week out.

“I couldn’t guarantee him that here, what with Charlie Welch at the club, so this is probably best for all parties.”

Meanwhile Dorchester boss Mark Morris admitted his interest in Browne but said a move is on the backburner for now.

Morris said: “I asked Weymouth about the possibility of doing a loan deal regarding Simon Browne but apparently the rules don’t allow them to loan out anyone else because they already have two players out on that kind of arrangement.

“He hasn’t played a great amount of games this season and I thought a loan would be an ideal opportunity to have a look at him. Now I’m keeping my options open for a while.”

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