FORMER Eastleigh striker Richard Gillespie, scorer of over 300 career goals, has confirmed his retirement from football.

The 34-year-old had signed for Dorchester Town, but made just five appearances for the Magpies, three from the bench, following his move from Poole Town.

Two offers came in from Evo-Stik Division One South clubs, but Gillespie was unwilling to step down a level.

Discussing his retirement, he told The (Dorset) Echo: “To be honest, it had been on my mind for a few months. I only want to play at the level I’m at – the Southern Premier or National League South.

“For me, the most enjoyable part of football is the challenge and dropping down levels is something I never wanted to do.

“I found I wasn’t getting the game time I wanted at Poole, so that’s what led to the move to Dorchester – and I wasn’t getting the game time there either.

“I thought ‘you know what, if I’m not getting in teams at this level then it’s probably a good idea to call it day.’”

Gillespie made his Bashley debut aged 16 and remains their record scorer with 180 goals in 324 games.

Of his time at Eastleigh, he said: “Collectively the team under-achieved. We had a really good team, we should have been pushing for the Conference South title, but that never worked out.

“We got to the first round of the FA Cup and ended up letting in a goal in the 93rd minute away to Barrow.

“In one sense that was probably one of the lowest points of my career, but at the same time it was one of the highest.

“It was such a low point because we were so close to having a chance to get them back to our place and progressing to the next round. You were thinking ‘what could’ve been’.

“Then, obviously winning the league with Poole. All in all, being with Poole has probably been my most enjoyable spell, purely because of the success we’ve had on the pitch.

“There’s six or seven lads that have been there the whole time I’ve been there, it’s made it really enjoyable and Tommy (Killick, manager) is a great guy as well.

“I’ve not had too many complaints, looking back, I’m fairly happy with my career.”

With Killick currently serving a six-game stadium ban, Gillespie was in the dugout for Poole’s 3-1 win over Merthyr Town last time out and will again help out coach Micky Hubbard away to second-placed Taunton on Saturday.

However, he hinted he would not take up management or coaching, adding: “I don’t have any visions to be manager going forward, I think I’ll just enjoy the opportunity for the next couple of weeks whilst it’s there.

“After that I’ll just become a football fan again. Those lads that I played alongside I’ll keep going down and watching. I’ve no formal plans for coaching or management.”