Whitley Bay striker Paul Chow has left the club and re-signed for Jarrow Roofing, the side he left in 2007 to move to Hillheads.
In close to eight seasons, 34-year-old Chow made 404 appearances and scored 270 goals, just 37 short of the record of Billy Wright as Whitley’s all-time leading scorer.
Alongside former team-mate Lee Kerr, they are the only players to have scored in three consecutive winning cup finals at Wembley, while Chow was the first player to score in every round of an FA Vase winning season.
And his 21 second opener against Wroxham in 2010 is also the fastest goal scored at the new Wembley Stadium.
Whitley chairman Paul McIlduff paid tribute to Chow when confirming the iconic No. 10 had played his last game for the club.
“Paul has been a fantastic servant to the club during his eight years with us and we wish him nothing but the best in his new venture with Jarrow,” he said.
“He has been a very big part in some of the greatest moments in the history of Whitley Bay Football Club and, on behalf of myself and the other directors, would like to publicly thank him for everything he has done to help raise the profile of Whitley Bay.
“Paul will be a huge miss, but I know it was always his ambition to return to Jarrow at some point, so when they made an approach, we were, although reluctant to lose him, happy to accede to his request and waived the usual seven-day notice to allow him to sign immediately.”
As for Chow, he departs with mixed feelings after calling Hillheads home since 2007, but felt the time was right.
“I am a Jarrow lad, started there and have known the manager for a very long time and have always thought I would end my career with them,” he said.
“A lot has changed at Whitley and most of my team-mates from our Vase run have moved on, so maybe it’s inevitable that I do too.
“Now I’m looking forward to a new challenge and will hope to score for Jarrow away to Sunderland RCA on Saturday if selected.
“But maybe it was not getting picked to start against Newton Aycliffe that helped me make up my mind, but at any club when a new manager comes in, players and formations change; I understand that and appreciate what a difficult task any new boss has.
“However, at my age, the need is there to be playing as much as possible, so the opportunity to return to Jarrow was too good a one to miss.”
Perhaps the one regret for Chow is that he finishes his time at Hillheads that 37 goals short of the all-time record, but he still leaves with a host of memories.
He added: “Obviously I am disappointed not to reach Billy’s total, but at the same time I have set a modern-day record that will give future Whitley players something to chase, and I have those three Wembley moments to look back on too.”
So which of his Wembley goals was the most special: “Without doubt, the first one,” he said.
“We had lost to Lowestoft the previous year and by coincidence I was flying over Wembley on the day of the final, you could see there was an event on and I just wondered if maybe that was the closest I was going to get to play in a final there.
“What happened after is the stuff of dreams and when I scored the following year, it was the most incredible feeling.
“As was putting us in front after just 21 seconds the next season. I remember then my first thought was that the referee or linesman would blow for some kind of foul, because you don’t score that quickly in a cup final.
“But once I heard the cheers of the Bay fans – and you would be surprised at how long it actually felt for that noise to reach me at the other end of the ground – I knew we had done something special.
“Finally I would like to thank all the Bay fans for all their support over the years and especially in the last few days when they have kept in touch with me as I made this decision.
“I’ve had a fantastic time with Whitley and have memories that will stay with me forever.”