Former Mansfield Town and Alfreton Town winger Nathan Arnold has announced he is making a footballing comeback at Altrincham next season eight months after hanging his boots up.
The 31-year-old walked away from the game disillusioned last October after falling out with Boston United boss Craig Elliott.
Mansfield-born Arnold, who also had spells at Grimsby Town and Lincoln City, was playing for the Pilgrims but claimed a pre-season promise of him being player/assistant manager never materialised and left by mutual consent.
The three-time National League promotion winner, also won the National League North title with Alfreton back in 2011 and is now back in that division with Altrincham.
“I am making a return to football and I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be,” he said.
“I am delighted to have signed for Altrincham – a brand new chapter and exciting times ahead. I can’t wait to get going.
“I am only 31 and I have some great years left ahead of me.
“This feeling that I have, alongside much encouragement to come back from friends and family, has inspired me to make a return to football.
“It has been perfect timing for me after 14 years in the game.
“The past year has enabled me to get some much needed respite and explore all areas of my life.
“My aim is to get back to the levels I know I am capable of and fall in love with football again.”
He added: “Things happen in life and it is no secret that I had a difficult period in my career off the pitch.
“There is always more than what meets the eye and my situation was no different. Now is the perfect time to resurrect my career.
“Time away from football has given me the opportunity to recharge, rejuvenate and adopt a new fresh perspective.
“I’m 31 with a huge amount of experience, knowledge and wisdom and I’m very grateful for the lessons life’s taught me.
“Behind the athlete is hours and hours of hard work, practice and a CV that I’m very proud of. I have missed being a part of something meaningful that football gives you and I’m glad to be back.”
Arnold, who is also a trained barber with his own barber business, knows that after time out the game there will be question marks over his ability to bounce back.
But he said: “I have never been more determined to prove a point than I am right now.
“It isn’t surprising to me that there’s question marks surrounding me coming back and maybe surrounding my motivation levels, but this only motivates me even more to get back to the levels I know I’m capable of.
“People have doubted me my whole life - it isn’t unfamiliar territory.
“It takes courage for a manager to believe in a player that has been there and done it. But I’m a winner and highly ambitious.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to come back to football as I’ve been involved in a great deal of giving service to others.
“But it is the perfect time for me to lace my boots up again and I’m excited by the challenges ahead.”