The club are deeply saddened to announce that veteran defender Tom Gardner has decided, due to work and family commitments, to leave the club.
Everyone at the club wishes him all the best for the future and thank him for all his efforts in the past.
Long-serving centre-half Tom played for Exmouth Town before joining Tiverton in 2005. A long-time target of manager Martyn Rogers, Tom played a single Devon Cup game for the Yellows in 2002, but was initially apprehensive about joining the club permanently, finally accepting an offer three years after his one-match cameo. His 'proper' debut passed, from his own perspective, successfully but without significant note; Richard Pears returned to the club the same day and notched a hat-trick, so Tom's performance was largely overlooked.
Tom spent a short time at Truro City and helped the White Tigers to the Western League title in 2008, but uncertainly at Treyew Road regarding the full-time status of the club saw him return to Ladysmead, as City manager and former Tivvy player Dave Leonard also left the club.
Although usually employed in central defence, Tom has also filled in as a full-back, both on the left and right side of the defensive line, and during his first season with the club also acted as an emergency striker. But most notably, he has donned the gloves on several occasions and passed this unusual test with flying colours, helping the side to a 2-0 victory at Brackley in 2007, a 1-1 draw with Halesowen a week later, and then filling in again in a 2-2 draw at Banbury in 2010.
In December 2016 Tom reached 500 competitive appearance for the club, and given his general tendency to stay free of injury it was bitterly ironic that he had to leave the action with a knee problem just half an hour into the game. Nevertheless, his place in the Tivvy Hall of Fame is assured and he will remain one of the club's most dedicated and loyal servants.
Updated 19:33 - 12 May 2019 by Simon Ellis