Jordon Forster could have held out for more money; full-time football; a club further up the SPFL pyramid — and he would have probably got all of those things.
After all, the former Hibernian and Dundee defender was in the Championship as recently as last season and, aside from formative loan spells, has never played below the second tier in Scottish football.
However, Forster’s priorities have altered.
His two-year stint at Dens Park turned sour prior to his departure in April and, while he has no desire to open old wounds or settle scores, he makes it clear that contentment and feeling valued are now paramount.
With his own personal training company, he is also casting a glance towards life after football.
He may only be 27 years of age, with plenty left in the tank, but this football lark does not last forever and, but for a lucky few, does not result in a bank balance on which one can retire.
Which brings us to New Central Park, the home of ambitious League 2 outfit Kelty Hearts and the latest stop in Forster’s career.
“Last season was a really difficult time for me,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people will ever truly understand the ins and outs of everything that happened at Dundee — and they are never going to — but it was about moving on and taking the right next step for me.
Welcome to New Central Park, Jordon🤝⚽️🇱🇻❤️ pic.twitter.com/ulmqEnwH7W
— Kelty Hearts Football Club (@KeltyHeartsFC) May 29, 2021
“I could have gone elsewhere, stayed full-time and earned more money. Those were options on the table and some people will maybe think it is a bit early for me to be making a move like this.
“But I’m in a place in my life where I think this is going to work for me. Right now, my happiness is my sole priority and I believe I will find my happiness at Kelty Hearts.
“During a global pandemic, I have a lot of time to think and I’ve got my own business to consider. I’m a sensible guy and don’t want to be playing full-time for an extra couple of years — but then have nothing to fall back on.
“This was a good fit and, combining that with the manager here, it feels like a brilliant opportunity.”
Indeed, it is impossible to overstate the importance of new Kelty boss Kevin Thomson in making this deal happen.
Thomson was a wily midfield veteran at Hibs — enjoying his second spell at Easter Road — when Forster was taking his first steps in to the senior set-up.
And the guidance and support he received from the former Scotland and Rangers star is something that sticks with him today .
“He [Thomson] messaged me about coming here and knowing his mentality and make-up really sealed the deal,” he continued. “If it was someone else in charge, then I probably wouldn’t have come here.
“Kevin really went out of his way to look after me when I was coming up [at Hibs]. He was a big part of me developing at that age — and I don’t forget things like that.
“Kevin Thomson is a big name and, when I was a youngster, had already achieved so much in the game, so he didn’t need to do that. But he’s always been brilliant with players coming through, showing compassion and wanting to help.
“Everyone knows his track record. You don’t spend years at Rangers as a player and a coach if you don’t know what you are talking about, and this is a great step for him too.”
Forster added: “Football can be a fickle game. People say things they don’t really mean — but I believed every word he said and I’m really energised for the challenge ahead.”
‘This is an ambitious club with aspirations to get promoted’
And while Forster may have dropped down to League 2, he sees no reason why Kelty cannot begin climbing the divisions during the period of his two-year deal with the Fifers.
“This is an ambitious club with aspirations to get promoted and do really well,” he added. “It’s not like there are just a couple of good players. The dressing room is packed with quality and SPFL experience in every department.
“We can be really confident of producing on the pitch every week and challenging for promotion.”