Paul Betson still enjoying his football as much as ever

Paul Betson in action for Newmarket Town

Paul Betson in action for Newmarket Town - Credit: James Ager

PAUL Betson is as much in love with football now as he has ever been.

Betson, who starred for AFC Sudbury in his prime, is now plying his trade for Newmarket Town in the twilight of his career.

The 37-year-old has just helped Newmarket win promotion back to the Premier Division of the Thurlow Nunn League at the first attempt following relegation last season.

And Betson, who has clearly lost none of his appetite for the game, is hoping to play for The Jockeys in the top-flight again next season.

He said: “I still love it – I really do. I love it as much now as I have always done.”

“I would like to stay here next season – and I would like to think Newmarket are keen for me to stay.

“I am definitely interested. I have played with Ricky Cornish since we were at AFC Sudbury together, so we are good friends, and I have known most of the other lads for several years now.

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“When you get to my stage of your career it is nice to play alongside lads you have known for several years because you fit in straight away.

“That is part of the reason why, when I was at AFC Sudbury, it was the most successful period of my career.

“Most of the players were there for several years, with only a few coming or going.

“When you know the players you are playing with every week it helps a lot.”

Betson was a stalwart of the AFC Sudbury side that dominated the Eastern Counties League for several seasons and reached three successive FA Vase finals only to lose on each occasion.

After signing at the start of the 1999/2000 season, Betson was a substitute in AFC Sudbury’s very first game.

As a naturally left-footed player he provided the balance that teams so often lack, and became a permanent fixture on the left of midfield in the AFC Sudbury side.

Indeed, Betson remains AFC Sudbury’s all-time leading appearance-maker with 376 appearances to his name, before moving to Ipswich Wanderers in December 2006.

Betson, who now plays at left back, said: “I am very proud of that.

“That was a very special time in my career and also for the club.

“There was always something happening – we were either involved in big cup matches or challenging for the league, so every game was important.

“I played in the FA Vase semi-final when we lost to Tiptree United and then the three finals that followed, although it was very disappointing to lose them all.

“People always mention my tackle early on in the third final against Didcot at White Hart Lane. Had it not been so early on I may have been sent off, but the referee let me off!”

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