FOOTBALL: Walker happy to stay for ‘feelgood factor’ at Spalding United

Paul Walker collects a framed photograph from Malcolm Gray to mark 100 appearances for Spalding United
Paul Walker collects a framed photograph from Malcolm Gray to mark 100 appearances for Spalding United
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Paul Walker turned down other offers to give a boost for Spalding United’s title bid next season.

The right-back revealed that he waited to look at his options before agreeing a new deal with the Tulips last night.

Walker said: “I’m happy to stay – but I told the manager (Chris Rawlinson) at the end of last season that I wanted to see if any offers came in.

“I was hoping maybe a club from the National League or North division had been looking at me and wanted to take me on.

“So I left it a little bit to see if anything came about. I could have joined a club much closer to home.

“But there is a feelgood factor at Spalding and I want to give them one more year to see what happens next.

On the attack during the play-off semi-final victory over Stocksbridge Park Steels

On the attack during the play-off semi-final victory over Stocksbridge Park Steels

“If we keep the majority of the squad together, we’ll have a right chance of winning the league.

“The other teams who had made offers didn’t excite me hugely.

“In my first season with Spalding, I didn’t like all the travelling.

“Last summer, originally I told Dave Frecklington that I wouldn’t sign a deal.

Everyone is like a mini family and, hopefully, we can reward them by winning the title next season.

Paul Walker

“But training sessions are held in Lincoln which makes it easier for me driving from Grimsby.

“I like playing football and, once I get out of the car, I love getting ready.”

Walker was named as the manager’s player of the year and he was also rewarded for making 100 appearances.

The century came up in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division South play-off final defeat away to Witton Albion.

In action during the play-off final at Witton Albion

In action during the play-off final at Witton Albion

Walker admitted: “I was gutted to miss out on a place in the division’s team of the year.

“But I didn’t expect to win any awards from the club as the likes of Bradley Wells, Michael Duggan and Nathan Stainfield were so good all 
season.

“I don’t play for awards. After a year at Grimsby Town, I fell out of love with the game – but I’ve enjoyed the last two seasons at Spalding.

“It’s a good club. In my first season, I’d heard a few things which weren’t great – but I’m hoping that stigma has gone.

“Everyone is like a mini family and, hopefully, we can reward them by winning the title next season.

“I’m confident the boys can do the business and we won’t be worried about expectation levels because we have plenty of experience in the dressing room.”