MARK Molesley paid a heartfelt tribute to Harry Baker, saying his last kick for the club was testament to him after the striker departed Weymouth on Sunday.
Baker took and scored the Terras’ first penalty in the 5-3 penalty shoot out win for Weymouth, that secured the title of Southern League Champions.
Discussing the striker’s final game at Kettering Town, which yielded a 1-1 draw and penalties, Molesley highlighted Baker’s eagerness to volunteer for a spot-kick.
Molesley said: “I think it is a true testament to him as well, who put his hand up first to take a penalty? Harry Baker.
“That shows what he is, it is a sad day for me and the football club.”
Baker scored some critical goals for the Terras in his final season with the club, most notably the winner in a brilliantly entertaining 4-3 victory at Salisbury.
He also scored twice at Gosport in the following match, while his late effort also sealed a 1-0 win at home against Wimborne in a season that saw the Terras take the title by a single point.
Molesley, who was clearly affected by Baker’s departure, said: “He started the journey with me… It is always going to be difficult to see someone like that go, he always gives so much for you.
“He is a firm favourite among the staff, the players and the crowd and just on behalf of everyone I would like to wish Harry the very best for next season.”
Briefly elaborating on the reasons behind Baker’s departure, Molesley said: “It is purely just a mutual agreement that Harry has spent a lot of time this season on the bench due to the fantastic partnership of Ben Thomson and Brandon Goodship.
“He is too good to be sitting on the bench, and at his age I think it is important for his development that he gets more regular starts for another club.
“It is a really difficult one because of how highly we think of Harry and what a great character he has been and how important his goals have been for us.”
Molesley went onto say that Baker is one of his best signings that he has made, and called him a model professional during his time out of the team.
Molesley said: “There is no one that deserves a medal round his neck more than Harry, his attitude, his character and his talent have been fantastic and he is one of my best signings, from Gillingham Town.
“He made the step up, and made a massive impact on everyone that he has been around. It is with a real heavy heart that we say goodbye but we will welcome him with open arms if at any time he wishes to come back to the club.
“I’m sure I speak for the whole football club and the fans in thanking him for his efforts and his fantastic goals.
“Not only is he a talented lad and a great lad to be around it is his character as well. It is never easy not being in the team, he never once moaned he put his head down grafted and worked and he has been a model professional.”
Elsewhere, the Terras have also confirmed that Ben Thomson will stay at the club for the 2018/19 season, becoming the first player to commit during the close season.
Thomson scored 17 goals last season as he helped the Terras to the title.