FANS, former players and club officials turned out in force to honour Witham Town legend John Watson on a special day at Spa Road.

While the weather proved changeable on the day, swinging from glorious sunshine to driving rain and hail and back again, Watson's service to the club has proved resolutely reliable over 11 years and the affection felt for him by all at Spa Road was evident on and off the pitch.

Players who he has lined up alongside in a wonderful career played in a legends team - managed by ex-boss Garry Kimble - against the current crop of first-team players - led by Witham manager Mark Ashford - in a testimonial match, with Watson spending 45 minutes on both sides.

He showed he had lost none of his scoring touch either, with goals in both halves of the game and was delighted to mark his time with the club in a special way.

"It was a great day," said Watson.

"I was surprised how many people came along.

"The weather wasn't great and there had been a few people messaging me apologising that they couldn't make it, so I was really pleased to see so many there.

"It was a lovely day and quite humbling to be honest.

"I'm just someone who loves playing football and it's special to be a part of this club.

"Witham Town is their club; it's their Manchester United, their Arsenal.

"I'm just doing something I love for something they love and it's been brilliant - all of it.

"I've had an amazing 11 years.

"When I first came over, Adam (Flint) was here working with Danny (Greaves), who was manager at the time, and he struggled to get me to the club.

"I kept saying 'no, I'm happy at Tiptree (United)'.

"It was good over there at the time and I was happy to stay, but I ended up making the move as I wasn't then playing at Tiptree and I've never looked back.

"There was a short stint playing in Australia, but I've always felt this is the place that I enjoy playing my football.

"With the fans, I do feel loved and this is a nice way to cap that.

"It was a wonderful day and the only sadness was that it had to end."

Watson's final competitive action ended with him helping to secure the club's Bostik League division north status the previous week.

His glittering career had featured two promotions as the club rose from the Essex Senior League to the third tier of non-league football and the 34-year-old felt the testimonial was a lovely opportunity to reflect back on his time at Spa Road.

He added: "Going up to the prem (the Isthmian League premier division in 2014) was a very special time and the promotion from the Essex Senior League (in 2012) was great as well.

"Then there was also playing in the Essex Senior Cup against Colchester United when I was captain, that felt like a big thing leading the boys out at their stadium.

"But the last game of this season was good as well - going down wouldn't have felt the right way to leave so it was lovely to get that result at Basildon to make sure we stayed up.

"I don't think my testimonial would have felt the same had it come on the back of a relegation.

"Witham really is a sleeping giant, it's a big club and there are so many people who do so much here.

"I just play football but there are people here doing so much for the club.

"I've been here 11 years, but some have been here doing things for 30 or 40 years.

"Someone like (club president) George Vale, he's been involved for about 55 years and seeing him there on Saturday was so special.

"Compared to that, my 11 years is nothing."

And the affection was mutual as George Vale looked on from the Spa Road terraces.

The Witham Town president said: "I have been at this club for many many years and I've known John all of his time here at Witham.

"He's been a wonderful servant to the club, has always given 100 per cent to Witham and played with a smile on his face."

As for the future, though, Watson said he was looking forward to having more time with his young family, but didn't completely rule out an end to his playing days.

"I've just got a little girl now and I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family," he added.

"That's my thinking at the moment, but you never know.

"When pre-season comes around, I may fancy it.

"I've done 17 of them now so we'll see what happens, but Witham Town is my first thought if I do decide to do anything - if they'll have me."