Jai Reason: Playing on the left at Braintree Town killed me

JAI REASON revealed his frustration at playing out of position at Braintree Town was the catalyst behind his shock decision to step down the football pyramid and join Blue Square Bet South side, Eastleigh.

The Braintree Town midfielder has penned a two-year contract with the Spitfires, the only team to make him a “concrete” offer, but insisted he was prepared to remain with Iron, on the same money, had he been given the chance to shine in the centre of manager Alan Devonshire’s midfield.

Reason scored 12 times for Iron from the left-hand side of midfield, during the club’s impressive debut campaign in Blue Square Bet Premier last season, but said a lack of opportunities to play in his favoured position “killed him”.

Having stated his desire to return to the Football League earlier in the season, the former Ipswich Town trainee is now moving down a level but believes his switch to the Hampshire-based club, who have drawn up a five-year plan to reach the Football League, will be a positive one.

“Braintree were not allowing me to play in the centre of midfield and this gives me a chance at an ambitious club to push on in my favoured position,” said Reason, who has also had spells with Crawley and Cambridge.

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“It killed me not being able to play in the centre as I have played there all my life, from being in the academy at Ipswich. I have always been known as a central midfielder

“I like to think I did a good job out of position but the manager never gave me a good opportunity to go back inside and I am thankful to Eastleigh for making me a concrete offer, they were the only club to put something on the table and there are 1,600 players out there that have not got a club.

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“I would have stayed with Braintree had they given me a chance to play in the centre. I knocked on the manager’s door a number of times about it but it was never mentioned.

“Had Braintree said ‘go and play in the centre of midfield’ I would have stayed on the same contract but they never tried to persuade me to stay.”

Reason’s new employees were taken over late last year and part of the new owners’ vision is to get the ground up to league standard, by looking at financing a 7,500 all-seater stadium, and to see the club move into the Football League.

“Eastleigh have got everything in place, they are buying some good players and we will definitely be pushing for promotion next season,” said Reason, who added that he had departed Braintree on good terms with Devonshire.

“This is a club on the up with big owners and great facilities and I am so happy to be part of their plans, it reminds me a bit of when I was at Crawley (now in League One).

“The only negative is that I am moving down a division.”

For Reason’s thoughts on Braintree’s chances next season and the “fantastic” Iron fans, read Thursday’s East Anglian Daily Times.

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