James Crane has thanked the Rocks fans for donations that will speed up his shoulder surgery.
Crane has been out since September after dislocating his shoulder during a game and needs a private operation to resolve it with hopes of a quick resolution on the NHS dashed by the winter crisis.
Crane said he was shocked and delighted the fans had pitched in through a JustGiving campaign which means he is nowe due to have the op this coming week.
Supporters’ club chairman Ian Guppy handed long-serving Crane a cheque for £1,800 after a superb effort from fans, raising the money in less than a week.
It ensures Crane does not need to wait six to nine months on the NHS – meaning he has a chance to be back with his much-needed experience in a matter of weeks, rather than months.
“I’m so grateful but shocked at how generous they have been in order for me to have this operation. I was a bit taken back when it was first mentioned to me. It really does show the fans at the forefront of the club,” Crane told the Observer.
One fan donated a whopping £500 to the JustGiving page which was half the total originally sought for the op.
Crane added: “I’d love to know who the anonymous donor is so I can thank them for their contribution. I was so overwhelmed when I saw how much they had given.”
Crane said as long as the operation now went to plan, it shouldn’t be too long until he’s back on the pitch playing again.
“The doctors told me that as long as everything goes well I should be back playing by late March, early April. They explained that I’m still young so it shouldn’t take me too long to get back out there again.”
Bognor have certainly missed Crane’s experience. He has notched up more than 400 appearences in nearly nine years at the club.
Crane reiterated his thanks to fans and cannot wait to be back on the pitch again, adding: “I really am so thankful for what they have done. I promise to repay the club back.”