Leyton Orient captain Nathan Clarke has released a statement indicating that he will leave the club in order to move closer to his family. The 31 year-old had been living away from his family since his move to E10 from Huddersfield Town in July 2012.
His statement on the club’s official website read:
[blocktext align=”center”]Firstly I would like to start by saying how proud I have been, been captain of this football club, I have played with the best group of lads in my time here and made some true friends and some great memories! In my time here I have had unbelievable support from the fans and I hope they could see I gave everything for the team. This is why this decision has not been easy, but for the past 3 years while playing here, I have been away from my young family, my wife and 2 girls have been so supportive in this time, but I feel living apart has become too hard! I have on many occasions put the club before my families happiness and that should never happen. I have made the decision to leave and move back north to be at home with my family. I would like to thank everyone associated with Leyton Orient and I will always be a fan! I would also like to thank the Manager for understanding my reasons and supporting me. I hope everyone understands my reasons and I wish the club every success in the up-coming season. [/blocktext]
Clarke was appointed as Orient captain soon after his arrival and he played 38 games during his first season with the club.
In his second season Nathan was ever-present for the O’s in League One and he also scored his only goals for the club. His first Orient goal came in a 2-0 victory over Port Vale and he scored his second for the club just 11 days later to rescue a point for the O’s against Walsall. He capped the season by leading the team out at Wembley for the play-off final. Clarke was named Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season.
Last season Clarke made 39 appearances and he was named as the club’s Community Player of the Year in recognition of his work throughout the season.
In total Clarke made 131 appearances over three seasons with the O’s.
Clarke’s departure leaves Ian Hendon desperately depleted. Clarke is the fifteenth senior player to leave the club this summer. Assuming Shane Lowry will leave the O’s due to his relegation release clause, Hendon has only Mathieu Baudry, Sean Clohessy, Sam Ling and Jack Humphrey in terms of recognised defensive options for the first team.
Defenders Connor Essam and Frazer Shaw have bee on trial with the O’s since the start of pre-season so perhaps Hendon will secure their signatures to strengthen his defence.