JON WORSNOP admits he ‘regrets’ his decision to leave Chester last season as he seeks an immediate return to the National League.
The former Blues’ goalkeeper joined the club in June 2014, and recovered from an inauspicious 5-0 thrashing by Barnet on the opening day of the 2014/15 campaign to claim the fans’ player of the year award.
However, with Worsnop balancing problems in his personal life with Chester’s relegation battle the following season, his form dropped off and found himself in-and-out of Steve Burr’s line-up.
Off-field issues didn’t improve last summer and the shot stopper asked boss Jon McCarthy if he could be released from his contract, parting company with Chester last October.
The 34-year-old has since rebuilt his confidence between the sticks as he helped Bradford Park Avenue avoid relegation from National League North, but wishes he hadn’t been so hasty in arranging his exit from the Deva Stadium.
“When I signed to be released from my contract, I regretted it instantly,” said Worsnop, speaking while enjoying a short break to Spain with his partner.
“I still regret it now. I miss the place, I miss playing for Chester day-in-day-out. I miss working with the gaffer and I miss that two or three hours most days at the ground and on the training pitch.
“That second season was a tough period in my personal life, but the fans don’t see that side of it.
“I felt I let the fans down in certain games, but when you look back there’s games in there where I probably helped us win with some big saves.
“Macca was brilliant through it all and the club were supportive but when there’s things going on off the field, it fills you with worry and it’s difficult to concentrate on football.
"Yes, it affected me a lot. You’re not eating properly, not getting enough sleep if you’re spending your nights worrying about things.
“Football is about fine margins and if you’re not at 100 per cent you get found out.”
The former Aberystwyth Town, Guiseley, FC United of Manchester and Alfreton Town stopper has enjoyed a varied career and is itching to regain the rhythm of full-time football, with three National League sides and a League Two outfit having enquired as to his availability.
Chester remains Worsnop’s true love though, and he revealed he has notified boss McCarthy of his availability, should the Blues wish to bring in an experienced back-up ‘keeper for Alex Lynch.
“I’m enjoying my football again and I feel I’ve recaptured that form from my first season at Chester,” he continued.
“Wrexham at home, the win at Southport, they stand out as big performances and now I’ve recaptured my form I believe I have plenty more to give in the National League.
“Since I went back to Bradford my form has really taken off, I’m not sure what it is but I came in and managed seven clean sheets in a row, and we went on a great run to get ourselves out of the relegation zone.
“I’m working for myself now, it’s almost role reversal from when I joined Chester. But I want to get back into full-time football, I feel I have three or four years left to give.
“I’ve spoken to three National League sides and a team in League Two who wanted me to come in as a number two.”
Worsnop believes Chester are heading in the right direction with their transfer business this summer, and has backed them for a Football League return in the coming years if the club continues to build on its solid foundations.
“I love the club, everything about it, the way it’s fan-owned and the people around the place,” he added.
“I love the city, the buzz around the ground on matchday. I think people underestimate Chester as a club, it has a real buzz about it.
“There’s no reason Chester can't do what someone like Lincoln have done this past year. It won’t happen overnight but all the groundwork is in place and in Macca they have a cracking manager.
“His attention to detail is right up there, and I think Tom (Shaw) will prove to be a really shrewd appointment as assistant manager. Tom knows the game and the division and will be a real asset.”
See full story in the Chester Leader