Consett AFC thank Dan Hawkins for his service as he decides to end his five-year spell at the club

Consett AFC today wished Dan Hawkins well after the popular midfielder decided to leave the club after five years, in search of more regular game time.

The 28-year-old’s contract recently expired, and he has agreed to join fellow Northern League 1st Division side Seaham Red Star, where he had a successful loan spell last season.

Consett AFC chairman Frank Bell said: “From the day he arrived at the club, Dan was extremely loyal and an excellent asset.

“He played just about everywhere but in goal for us, and showed tremendous character by coming back from a horrific injury.

Dan Hawkins in action against Whitley Bay. Pic: Gary Welford.

“We’re disappointed that he’s decided to leave, but fully understand his desire to start games on a more regular basis.

“He leaves on good terms with our best wishes, and he knows he will always be welcome back at Belle View.”

Dan signed for Consett in the summer of 2015, having spent the previous season with Blyth Spartans in the Evo-stik League Premier Division, and helping them to the 3rd Round proper of the FA Cup.

An ex-Middlesbrough Academy player, he had previously spent four years at Bishop Auckland, helping them to lift the Durham Challenge Cup in 2013.

Dan, pictured with Willie Donachie and Mark Eccles, was Player of the Year in 2016-17.

He arrived at Consett as a midfielder, but showed his versatility by also playing at right-back, centre-back and centre-forward.

Named vice-captain for the 2016-17 season, he responded by turning in some excellent performances, and being voted Player of the Year.

Sadly, he suffered a serious cruciate ligament injury in December 2017 in a League Cup tie v. Tow Law. It needed two operations and ruled him out for more than a year, but Dan slowly regained fitness and became a regular squad member again last season.

His last appearance was against Atherstone Town in the 6th Round of the FA Vase on 7 March, when he made a little bit of club history by becoming our first-ever ‘fourth sub’ during extra time.

Dan made seven starts and 10 substitute appearances last season, scoring once, at Brandon in the League Cup. His overall record as a Steelman is 134 games and 14 goals.

Dan Hawkins became Consett’s first-ever ‘fourth sub’ in the FA Vase at Atherstone.

Gary Welford