Braintree Town fans were fantastic - Jai Reason

BRAINTREE Town will always be reserved a big place in Jai Reason’s heart, according to the departing midfielder.

The 22-year-old will be playing in Blue Square Bet South again next season, having elected to join Eastleigh, and will hope to emulate his first season with the Iron, in which he won promotion from that division.

Reason joined Iron in the summer of 2010 and went on to score 19 goals in 76 appearances, mainly from a position out wide – a role which hastened his departure from the Amlin Stadium.

His influence in a relatively successful team last season was not enough to persuade him to stay, however, and Reason insists his departure to Hampshire was purely a footballing decision.

“Eastleigh were the only team to put a concrete offer for me on the table,” said former Ipswich trainee Reason.

“There are going to be 1,600 players out there this summer that will not have a club and I did not want to be in that position.

“I did not want to move down divisions but Eastleigh are an ambitious club and I will get the chance to play in the centre of midfield again.

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“But Braintree will always have a big place in my heart and the fans there were fantastic.

“I have already received some messages from supporters thanking me for my contribution and saying how I helped to make history as Braintree were promoted to the Blue Square Premier for the first time.”

Reason has joined Ben Wright in leaving the north Essex club in what could prove to be another blow to the club.

While the midfielder plundered 12 goals last season, the talented Wright, who has been snapped up by Iron’s league rivals Forest Green, scored 17.

“I think it will be difficult to replace the best part of 30 goals but no doubt Alan Devonshire will have some targets in mind,” said Reason, who added he held no animosity towards Town.

“Myself and Alan wished each other the best of luck and he totally understands my decision.

“I will miss the lads there, they have a great team spirit and that was main thing (behind their success) last season.

“I think they will stay up again next season.”