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Histon forward Ed Rolph rediscovered love for football after taking a break from the game

Ed Rolph is preparing for the upcoming 2023/24 season with Histon just a matter of months after he had started to make peace with the fact that he may never play competitive football again.

Twelve months ago the forward joined Cambridge City after a spell with Histon that included more than 150 appearances and 70-plus goals.

With the Stutes’ situation somewhat uncertain following relegation and City playing at a higher level, the hope was that it was a move which would help to kick Rolph on to the next level.

Ed Rolph has returned to Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell
Ed Rolph has returned to Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell

However, despite a bright start to life with the Lilywhites – including a FA Trophy hat-trick against Yaxley – Rolph made the last of his 14 appearances in mid-November. And yet there was no injury, no fall out or anything of that nature – he had simply lost his love for the game, so much so that the 28-year-old seriously considered hanging up his boots for good before the prospect of a Histon reunion materialised.

“City felt like the perfect challenge and although I had a couple of injuries early on it was a good start,” said Rolph.

“But it was around October or November that I fell out of love with football. It was nothing to do with City, it’s a great club with great people.

Ed Rolph has returned to Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell
Ed Rolph has returned to Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell

“I just felt like something needed to change in my life. I do a lot of travelling with work and there was a breaking point. Something had to give and that was football.

“For four or five months I wasn’t sure that I’d ever play again. Football wasn’t at the forefront of mind and I wasn’t missing it like I thought I might.

“But recently I’ve felt that passion return. The break has probably done me good and allowed me to reset a little bit.

“I’ve had a few offers since I took a step back but I needed to be at a club that could get the best out of me and that’s Histon. Keysy (Lance Key, manager) and everyone there knows my situation and they know how to get the best out of me.

Ed Rolph has returned to Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell
Ed Rolph has returned to Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell

“I could have moved somewhere else but it felt like I needed to be at a club where I’ve been tried and tested. Histon means a lot to me and I’m really pleased to be back.

“I first joined Histon when I was 21 or 22 and it’s an environment that I’m very comfortable in.”

Rolph has returned to a club that ended the 2022/23 Uhlsport United Counties League Premier Division South campaign on a positive note.

Histon were one of the division’s form teams after the turn of the year and ended up finishing in sixth position.

And with the introduction of promotion play-offs at Step 5 from the start of next term, Rolph believes he is rejoining a side with a good chance of kickstarting their bid to move back up the non-league pyramid.

He added: “The lads had a brilliant run towards the end of the season.

“It was a tough time after the relegation, especially because we actually nearly stayed up.

“I think there was a few players coming and going during the first half of last season but once it settled down, Lance and the squad have managed to lay down some solid foundations.

“It should be a bit more settled this summer so we’ll have plenty of time to gel before the season starts.

“With the play-offs you’ve now got two decent shots at going up and that will hopefully be our focus.”

Yet while the team’s achievement is very much Rolph’s major concern, like any typical striker he also a burning ambition of his own to achieve next season. He is 28 goals short of a century in Histon colours and there is a determination to reach the three-figure mark come the end of the campaign – for himself, but also for the team’s benefit.

“I’m not aware of anyone that has scored 100 goals for the club, certainly recently, and that’s something I’m really keen to achieve,” he said.

“It’s in my sights and I don’t think it’s impossible to get that done next season.

“Obviously there are certain things out of your control like injuries, but if I can get enough playing time, I know the lads will create enough chances for me to get the goals I need.

“Ultimately the team winning is all that matters, but if I can score the goals to get me to 100 then that is only going to help the team pick up good results.”

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