Stowmarket Town have this week announced the huge signing in former Championship midfielder/striker Dean Bowditch.
The 33-year-old, who made over 400-plus appearances in the Football League with Ipswich Town, has joined the club on a deal until the end of the season.
— Stowmarket Town FC (@stowtownfc) November 19, 2019
Stowmarket are currently members of the Eastern Counties League Premier Division, which they sit top of (played 17, won 14, drew 3 lost 0) and are incredibly 15 points clear of second place Wroxham.
Bowditch has won promotion from League One with MK Dons and had loan spells with Burnley, Wycombe Wanderers, Brighton & Hove Albion, Northampton Town and Brentford, before leaving the Tractor Boys to join Yeovil Town in 2009.
Following his six-year stay at MK, he signed for Northampton Town where he played the 2017/18 and 2018/19 season whilst going out on loan to Stevenage from January 2018 until the end before getting released.
After being released by the League Two club at the end of last season, Bowditch became a free agent in the summer and has tonight agreed to extend his playing career in Suffolk with the Old Gold and Blacks.
Throwback to his hat-trick for Ipswich when just 17 at the time, in a 4-1 win over Watford at Portman Road in 2004…
? | It's day 1️⃣7️⃣ of the #itfcAdventCalendar and it's a hat-trick from former number 1️⃣7️⃣ Dean Bowditch, who was also just 17 at the time, in a 4-1 win over Watford at Portman Road in 2004 pic.twitter.com/xYmvFasO1u
— Ipswich Town FC (@IpswichTown) December 17, 2017
Bowditch said, as quoted by East Anglian Daily Times: “It was a bit of a surprise to get a call a couple of months ago to be honest.
“My baby son, Albie, was only a couple of months old, so the time wasn’t right. But when we spoke again more recently, the timing is now perfect.
“I need to enjoy my football and Stowmarket just have that feelgood factor about them. What they are trying to do on and off the pitch.
“I think people forget I’m heading towards my mid-30s, but the way I play and the way I look, it’s nice, people think I’m younger.
“I’ve been involved with professional clubs since I was about 10-years-old. It’s been, football, football, football.
“But I have a completely different outlook on life now with Albie here. Me and my wife met in our teens and we have waited a long time for a family. We are both besotted with him.
“Quite honestly I have been happy to take time out and spend time with my son.
“But you know what it’s like being a footballer. You start to get a bit itchy and want to get out there again.
“And that was when I spoke to Stowmarket again recently. It was right place, right time, simple as that.
“I don’t care a jot that it’s lower league. I know I’m going to enjoy it.
“They are flying in the league, have a very professional way with things off the pitch. The timing is just perfect for all parties.
Bowditch also revealed that he remains optimistic that he can re-ignite a professional career after receiving plenty of other offers elsewhere.
Stowmarket boss Rick Andrews said: “It was an unexpected opportunity to sign an experienced player who we know will bring so much to the club, on and off the pitch.
“As a group Dean will enhance us. He’s a great lad. It raises our profile, hopefully puts a few more on the gate, including plenty of youngsters.
“It’s a season-long contract for now, but who knows where it will lead?”
BOWDITCH’S CAREER STATISTICS:
2002–2009 – Ipswich Town – 72 games, (8 goals)
2005 → Burnley (loan) – 10 games, (1 goal)
2006 → Wycombe Wanderers (loan) – 11 games, (1 goal)
2006 → Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) – 3 games, (1 goal)
2007–2008 → Northampton Town (loan) – 10 games, (2 goals)
2008 → Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) – 5 games, (0 goal)
2008–2009 → Brentford (loan) – 9 games, (2) goal
2009–2011 – Yeovil Town – 71 games, (25 goals)
2011–2017 – Milton Keynes Dons – 192 games, (37 goals)
2017–2019 – Northampton Town – 31 games, (3 goals)
2018 → Stevenage (loan) – 5 games (2 goals)
Fans were left surprised at what a quality signing it was and took to wish him luck – see what they wrote on the next page.