Hebburn Town will pay tribute to non-league legend Paul Chow at tomorrow’s game against Consett after the striker announced his retirement.
Veteran forward Chow has won the FA Vase three times and plundered 480 goals in a stellar Northern League career.
However, the 38-year-old has decided to hang up his boots after tomorrow’s game with him hometown club, and Hebburn boss Scott Oliver says the player will lead the team out – even if he’s not in the starting line-up.
Oliver said: “We will pay tribute to Paul Chow on Saturday who will be retiring after the game.
“Paul has had a fantastic non-league career and has been brilliant for our club. Whether Paul starts or not he will lead the team out on Saturday.”
Chow began his career at Jarrow Roofing under Richie McLoughlin, and helped them to the Vase semi-finals in one of his three spells at the club, while he also had a brief period at Durham City.
It was at Whitley Bay where he received the most fame, however.
Chow fired 270 goals for the Hillheads club – just 37 short of the club record held by 1960s legend Billy Wright.
It was the Vase which he will go down in folklore for. Chow scored four goals in their three Vase final wins and also set a Wembley record in the process in 2010, scoring the quickest goal in history at the famous stadium as he struck after just 21 seconds to put his side on their way to a 6-1 hammering of Wroxham.
Another record could be on the way for Chow tomorrow too. Should Hebburn beat Consett, they will finish as runners-up behind champions Dunston UTS in the Northern League Division One, the highest-placed finish for both the club and Chow, who clinched a third-place spot with Whitley Bay.
It adds extra spice to the game, with Oliver looking to guide the Hornets to their own record, having been a player in 1992 when Hebburn finished eighth, their best-ever placing so far.
He said: “In my mind this is the biggest game in our season.
“We can finish runners up or end up fourth. There is a big difference and we are focused to win on Saturday.
“We have had a great season but it is important to end on a high.
“Consett are a fine team and play some great football and themselves can also finish runners up so a great game is on the cards.
Dan Groves and Sam Read miss the game and we don’t expect Michael Richardson to recover from his ankle injury as he did not train Wednesday night, so that is a huge blow as he has been superb to watch this season.
“Injuries have hampered us all season, especially defensively, and if we are to improve our position next season we will need to be picking more unchanged teams.
“I hope we get a good crowd – I believe this team has been great to watch and the last two seasons have been very enjoyable.”