A MODERN day hero at Bradford Park (Avenue), Mark Ross will depart the club after spending four "fantastic" years there.

It was announced on Monday that the experienced fullback wouldn't be renewing his contract with Mark Bower's side, as he has a thriving business which is taking up more of his time.

The 33 year-old has decided to step away from football for the time being to focus more on his work.

Speaking to the T&A, Ross admitted that it was time to put his focus elsewhere.

He said: "I'm stopping playing for the time being because my business is growing in success.

"I want more time to be able to push my business to the limit. I've never had enough time to be able to do that, so I thought it was the right time to make this choice. It's always done well when I've been able to push it hard and I'm confident it will continue to grow this time around.

"Don't get me wrong, it was a very hard decision to make- one that I had to think about carefully, but I've just never stopped playing. It's now time to do that, certainly for the short term.

"I'm not seeing it as the ending, but it is a bit of a break for now."

Ross, who has been at Avenue for four years, spoke in glowing terms when asked about his time at the club.

He said: "It's been absolutely unbelievable. I always told myself that I'd continue to play football, as long as I enjoyed it. At Bradford I loved it. It wasn't about the money, it wasn't about the glitz and glamour of the club, but it was purely about the enjoyment that we had together as a group.

"I think the coaching set up is incredible there. They manage to build great chemistry and develop players to a high level, despite the club not having loads of money. Everyone is on board with what they want to achieve too, and I firmly believe that football clubs should be ran that way."

Ross added: "I've got to give praise to the gaffer too (Mark Bower). He's amazing and I feel he is good enough to get a job even further up the footballing ladder.

"At this level we know we can play football and do the basics well, but sometimes you just need a manager to allow you to do that to the best of your ability.

"When you know a manager has confidence in you, then that's when you play your best football. That's the feeling you have with Mark as boss."

Football returned to some normality this season after the Covid pandemic had put a temporary halt on proceedings over the past couple of campaigns.

Reflecting on this season, Ross said: "It's been a good season to finish on for me because we eventually got back to some normality, and we've been able to play a normal season through.

"The last two season were strange, so it was good way for me to bow out. Although the table may suggest different, I think we had a good season. Small margins perhaps prevented us from winning more games.

"But I have full confidence in this team to go and show progression next season."

Avenue released a statement yesterday and it revealed further information about the squad for next season.

It said: "The club would like to issue the below update regarding the playing squad.

"Bradford (Park Avenue) would like to provide supporters with an update on our squad following the end of the season.

"Having announced earlier this week the departures of Mark Ross and Nicky Clee, we can also confirm that Jordan Windass, Akeem Hinds and Luke Rawson will not be offered contracts for next season and will therefore be leaving the club. We would like to wish all the players the best of luck for the future and thank them for their efforts whilst representing The Avenue.

"Following the end of their loan spells Lewis Knight and Taylor Ragan have returned to their parent clubs. Again we would like to thank them for their efforts whilst with us.

"Mitch Lund, Dylan Mottley-Henry, Harrison Hopper and Sam Fielding are all contracted for next season.

"Discussions are taking place with the remaining members of the squad and we hope to be in a position to make further announcements in the coming days and weeks."