LLOYD Thomas admits Weymouth’s recruitment of Chris Lewington and Tom McHale played a role in his decision to leave the Terras, which he announced on Friday.
McHale and Lewington were both recruited during January, which saw the former replace Thomas as number one between the sticks, prompting Thomas feel like he needed a different setting.
Thomas said: “It was my decision to leave, I had spoken to the gaffer (Mark Molesley) and Robbie (Yates, goalkeeping coach) about it but overall it was really my decision.
When asked what made him come to that decision, Thomas replied: “Purely just because you know getting in a couple of other goalkeepers over the top of me, I felt like I needed a different sort of setting after that.
“I knew I could leave on a high because the performances I had put in were pretty decent. I felt I had done quite a bit in my short time so I was quite happy with it, and happy to leave it there.”
Thomas’ last appearance for the Terras came in the 3-1 defeat to Ramsbottom United in their FA Trophy second round replay, while his last league outing was in the 2-1 victory over Tiverton Town.
When asked how he will come to look back on his time at the Terras, Thomas replied: “To be honest I actually really enjoyed it, and working with Robbie, who is a great goalkeeping coach, and the club is a huge club.”
Thomas was fond of the reception he got from the Weymouth fans, and spoke glowingly about them, as he said: “The fans… I have never played in front of anything like it.”
Thomas’ stand out moment for the club was arguably during the Terras’ penalty shoot out win over Dorchester in the Dorset Senior Cup, and Thomas admits he doesn’t think he will ever forget it.
Thomas said: “I don’t think I’ll ever forget that, no matter what I do next, no matter how long I end up having a non-league or even professional footballing career.
“That was probably the biggest high I have ever had. It was unbelievable at that moment.
“After that, I don’t know whether the fans took a liking to me after that but I seem to have got my own little Thomas chant out of it so it was alright.
“I will always look back at that quite fondly and it was a good time. Yeah, I’ll never forget that.”
When asked for a last word to the Terras’ fans, Thomas described them as unbelievable.
Thomas said: “They are unbelievable, hopefully one day I might one day get to play in front of them again because that is probably the biggest support I have ever had.
“Even through social media, there has been a lot of support, with people saying that I have done well.”
When Thomas announced his decision to leave a lot of fans wished him well, which Thomas says caught him by surprise.
Thomas said: “I was surprised by it because obviously it is a player leaving the club, they are probably thinking what’s going on there, but I think a lot of them understood my situation.
“I did do well in my short stint of playing games so I am pretty sure they saw that. It just proves what sort of fans they are.”
Thomas recalled one time that the support even surprised goalkeeping coach Robbie Yates.
Thomas said: “I remember Dorchester away on Boxing Day, even though I wasn’t playing, Robbie Yates was stood behind the goal in the warm-up, we were doing shooting.
“Every save I was making I just remember all of these Weymouth fans just applauding me and Robbie turned around to me and said Lloyd I have never had that before, not even with any goalkeeper I have ever had.”
Speaking to the Echo, Weymouth Director of Football Paul Maitland admitted that he was disappointed, and that he had hoped Thomas would stay for the rest of the season.
Maitland said: “We are disappointed, we hoped he would see the season out with us and continue to push Tom and give real competition, which is what he was capable of doing.
“When he has come in he has shown that he is capable which was a massive plus for us.
“We wish him well for his future.”