NICKY Clee has said it is a shame he has had to call a day on his Bradford (Park Avenue) career, citing travel as the reason behind his departure.

The midfield maestro leaves Horsfall following five successful years over two spells (2017-19 and 2019-22).

Clee, 38, played a key role in helping Bradford rally to survival this season, avoiding the drop by nine points in the end as West Yorkshire rivals Guiseley were relegated.

"It was a decision I did not want to make but it was not fair on my family to continue," he said.

"With my kids getting older now, it has become difficult to juggle everything.

"It's the travelling to away games which is the hardest part. The time it took to go to Hereford recently was an example of that.

"There just wasn't the justification of playing at this level where you have to travel all over the country."

To say Clee has been on a rollercoaster ride at Avenue throughout the years would be an understatement.

He has experienced playoff heartbreak and relegation near-misses in his over 100 appearances for the club.

"Whilst being at Avenue, we have always had a good dressing room with no bad eggs. That can get you 10 points in a season.

"Along with the talented players we have had, they have also been willing to put their bodies in the line. Team spirit is so crucial.

"The two playoff seasons have to go down as the highlights. The Covid seasons were really frustrating, it just didn't feel like football with no fans and being split into two different dressing rooms."

In a tribute to his former vice captain, manager Mark Bower added: “Nicky has been a fantastic servant to BPA.

"Not only has he produced for us on the pitch, he has been a great influence in our dressing room amongst his teammates and in particular our younger players.

"To still be playing at this level, in his late thirties is a testament to how well he has looked after himself.”

The veteran has vowed to continue playing the game as long as he can ply his trade more locally.

"I'm not getting any younger but I still want to play on," Clee added.

"I have spoken to people in the game who have retired and they have all said your body will tell you when you are done.

"I still feel like I have a lot to give, I have been performing well at this level."

Clee intends to go relax on a family holiday before coming back and playing for the "right club".

He is not the only senior member of the squad to leave this week with Park Avenue announcing defender Mark Ross will exit the club this summer upon the expiry of his contract.