Former Norwich United striker Matt Blake turns down big-money move after scoring 40th goal of the season for Leiston

Matt Blake in action for Leiston against Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night, when he scored twice.

Matt Blake in action for Leiston against Folkestone Invicta on Tuesday night, when he scored twice. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

Former Norwich United striker Matt Blake has followed his heart and not his pocket, after opting to stay with Leiston and turn down a big-money move to Ryman Premier Division rivals Billericay Town.

The 28-year-old, from Thetford, scored his 40th goal of the season in Tuesday's 2-1 home win over Folkestone Invicta, as the Blues strengthened their play-off charge.

Billericay, who recently signed ex-England left-back Paul Konchesky, are understood to have failed to meet Leiston's valuation. The Essex side offered Blake a substantial hike in wages to join their revolution but the goal-getter took the tough decision to reject the move, in favour of re-assessing his options in the summer.

'Billericay are a massive club and at the end of the day, they are probably going to be the biggest club in non-league football,' said Blake, whose current club will not stand in his way should a move suit all parties.

'I just feel I should wait until the summer. I don't want to do a deal now and potentially mess something up and miss the chance to play in the National League or even the Football League.

'I can't run the risk of signing something now when potentially something could happen over the summer.

'It is tough, it was a very hard decision for me and it could backfire, but for me it's about my heart and desire to play higher.

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'I am in a win-win situation as I am at a club that I love. I will look at the situation at the end of the season when hopefully we will have won promotion.'

Blake's decision to turn down bigger money is an admirable one, given the potential injury risks that are commonplace in the game.

'I am 28 and I have a four-year-old and a sixth-month old,' added the painter and decorator, who works in the Bury St Edmunds area.

'The money was on the table and it had to be looked at. I have gone with my heart over my pocket at the end of the day.'

• Blake spoke to the latest edition of the Pink Un magazine about his goal-scoring exploits, after the former Thetford Rovers and Wroxham forward racked up 150 goals in less than four seasons. Click here to order your copy.

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