Atherstone’s Joe Obi Rethinks Retirement Plans After Season Ends Early

Atherstone Town striker Joe Obi is facing crunch talks this summer after the Midland Football League season was declared ‘null and void’ – but he won’t be heading to the manager’s office anytime soon.

Obi, who had planned to retire at the end of the current campaign, faces talks with his wife about playing on for another year.

After an odds-defying run to the FA Vase quarter-final and a promotion tilt in the league were halted early, how could he not come back?

“I said at the start of this season that this one would be my last, but I can’t finish on a season that didn’t even end,” he said. “I’ll almost certainly carry on next year because you’re a long time retired. It would be difficult for me to call it a day with the season ending like this.

“At the moment I’m being the model husband. I’ve never washed and tidied up so many times in my life. I think she’s milking it a bit to be honest. She knew she’d let me do another season.

“We definitely think we have a case of unfinished business. We didn’t start the season well, but we’d picked up over the last few months, so we were looking forward to the run in and climbing up the table to where we think we belong.

“It’s a bit of a strange one. I didn’t agree with the points-per-game idea because some teams like us had loads of games in hand and were planning on a big end to the season.”

Obi, who is 34 in June, had a brief spell in the dugout this season after manager Ivor Green left the club.

But while the season was on hold, the only thought in his mind was to get back out on the pitch and finish things normally.

“I was already training for a marathon at the end of April, but it’s been cancelled,” Obi said. “I’ve kept up the training so I would have always been ready to go again just in case the season did restart.

“To just void the season is crazy. I feel sorry for the teams that were looking like getting promoted but it is what it is and they’ll just have to go again next season.

“I think they should’ve found a way to finish the season even if it meant delaying the start to next season.

“As far as Atherstone are concerned, I’m actually glad we got knocked out the FA Vase when we did because it would’ve been absolutely devastating if it had ended like this.

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