PAUL Kennett celebrated a landmark 400th appearance for Worthing Football Club on Saturday and now has one eye on another massive milestone.
The Rebels captain has amassed the impressive tally in three spells at the club since originally joining at just 18 and admitted he sometimes wishes he had spent his whole career at Woodside Road.
The 34-year-old former Brighton & Hove Albion youngster has had spells with Lewes and Horsham in between his time at Rebels where he holds the second highest number of appearances in the club’s history. Mark Knee, now at Whitehawk, is the current record holder on 417 and Kennett now has that figure in his sights, although, even if he plays every remaining game he will not capture that prestigious honour this season.
He said: “I’m very, very happy with it and I sometimes wish I had never left, then I’d be nearly double that. But I am over the moon to get to 400 appearances for the club, I really am. I don’t see myself leaving Worthing now to play for any other team at all. I’m sure I’ll see it out here.
“It’s getting harder each week as I get older and I am up early in the mornings. So I see at the end of each season how I feel and play it by ear as to retiring.”
So is Knee’s record, Kennett’s next target? “Yeah, I suppose so. We have a bit of banter between us about it and it would be a real honour to be able to say you hold it, so definitely,” he said.
On the highlights of his 400 games, Kennett said: “Obviously, back in the days of Sammy (Donnelly) in the first round proper of the FA Cup was a great experience, winning the Sussex Senior Cup and getting to the play-offs in recent years, but, unfortunately, not quite achieving it.
“This year, we’re building for the future with a lot of youngsters coming through. All the guys Lee (Brace) has brought in are good enough and doing well.”
The midfielder’s landmark game came on Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Folkestone. Kennett was presented with framed programmes, a bottle of champagne and cufflinks before the game.
Worthing joint manager Lee Brace said: “It’s fully deserved. In the short time I have been here he has been the ultimate professional. Paul has been a fantastic player and he’s a leader on the pitch and leads by example. He’s not the most vocal players, but he’ll put his foot and head in where other players wouldn’t dare and he is very well respected throughout the non-league game.”