WAYNE Thomas admits he almost retired from football before joining Worcester City.
The 34-year-old found himself at a career crossroads when he was let go by Tamworth last month.
With more than 500 Football League appearances under his belt, the centre-half could perhaps be forgiven for pondering whether it was time to hang up his boots.
But in the end it was his love for the game that won over and he opted to answer City manager Carl Heeley's SOS to plug the gap left in the heart of the defence by Jamie Grimes' recall by Kidderminster Harriers.
Tamworth's loss has certainly been Worcester's gain as, if Thomas' first two matches in the blue and white of City are anything to go by, Heeley has landed a brute of a player.
By that, I mean the sort of uncompromising centre-half that forwards hate playing against. Non-league teams are famous for them, Heeley was one himself and now he brought one to Worcester.
It might just make the difference between a nervy season finale and finishing in the higher reaches of Skrill North.
Thomas believes he has made the right call in prolonging his career and is relishing the challenge of the 10-game run-in.
"The gaffer gave me a call and asked me if I was interested and I said yes, and so far so good," the former Southampton and Burnley defender said. "It was an easy decision to make.
"Obviously, I still want to play but I was thinking about maybe retiring if the truth be known. I spoke to my wife and she said if I wanted to then go on down to Worcester.
"I've been really impressed with the set up and the way Carl and Gards (Matt Gardiner) do things, the professionalism, work ethic of the boys and the spirit that they've got. It was a good decision.
"I've only been here two games but I think collectively the lads have been absolutely fantastic. We've got some good young players, everyone's a good character, there's no bad eggs as it were, it's a really good place to be.
"The lads have made me feel really welcome, I've settled in quite well with them."
Thomas, who also spent a year with top-flight Greek outfit Atromitos, is no stranger to the art of defending and he feels his new team-mates have the making of a formidable unit.
Despite their erratic early-season form, Worcester have managed 14 clean sheets, eight of which have come in the league.
Thomas said: "They've kept 14 clean sheets this season and it's no surprise, they've got some good players and if we can just be a little bit more clinical at times, I think it will stand them in good stead.
"Graham Hutchison has done really well, I've been really impressed with him since I've come in. He's aggressive, wins the ball and he's composed as well.
"The two full-backs have been fantastic as well so it's been quite easy to slot in."