The search for security in an uncertain world has led to Wellington Phoenix captain Steven Taylor's departure from the A-League club.
The two have parted ways by mutual consent with two years still to run on the contract extension Taylor signed on New Year's Day.
Taylor led the side to their best ever finish (third) in the just-completed A-League campaign, finishing the season with a nine-week stint in a Sydney hub before heading home to the UK to assess his options.
"Covid has killed everything," said Taylor from his home in Newcastle.
"There's uncertainty going on with the A-League at the moment and I can see what's going on behind the scenes. I wanted security for myself and I don't know if I had that going forward with the A-League and what's happening out there.
"When I spoke to Uffie (Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay), he understood my point of view. I want to keep playing and have the security of playing and that's what I want to look forward to now," he said.
Taylor joined Wellington in July 2018 as one of Mark Rudan's first signings and immediately became a fan favourite in the capital. When long-time skipper Andrew Durante followed Rudan to Western United in the last off-season, new coach Talay handed Taylor the captain's armband and he captained the side in every one of their 27 outings this season.
In all, Taylor played 49 times for the Phoenix, all starts, missing just half-a-dozen games with a calf niggle. Even at 34 years of age, there will be no shortage of suitors for the supremely fit defender with India firming as his most likely destination.
Clubs in the Indian Super League have vigorously targeted A-League players in recent times with Taylor's former team-mates Roy Krishna, David Williams and Mandi all at defending champions ATK Mohun Bagan. Fellow Englishman Gary Hooper has joined the Kerala Blasters after one season in Wellington and another former Phoenix defender Jacob Tratt has recently signed with Odisha FC. Sydney FC marksman Adam Le Fondre is also close to agreeing terms with Mumbai City.
"I need another challenge; a difficult one, but an exciting one as well," said Taylor.
Huge blow for Phoenix as star quits club - and more could follow
Youth football teams win weekend matches
"I came across to Wellington for the challenge, so I need something that's going to wet my lips. We'll see what lies ahead, but I'm excited.
"There's a lot of interest in Europe and around (the world) so it's a matter of looking at what's on the table and which is going to be the one that excites me the most."
Taylor is the fourth off-season departure from the Phoenix, joining Hooper and young Kiwis Libby Cacace and Callum McCowatt, both of who have secured European deals. It leaves Talay with the prospect of another squad rebuild with 12 players now contracted for next season which is set to begin in early 2021.
Even though Taylor's decision is based on logic rather than emotion, he admits to a tinge of regret as he leaves New Zealand behind.
"I was gutted to leave because from the first day I came out there, I loved every minute of it," said Taylor.
"What a cracking bunch of lads there and all the staff behind the scenes. They gave me the spark and the fire in my belly every single day. I went in with a big smile on my face every morning, enjoying what I was doing and loving being around the lads.
"From the first day I came in, the fans have been different class and welcomed me with open arms. I've loved the city and thoroughly enjoyed my time. I've got some fantastic friends there. I'm going to miss them.
"We've set the standards and it's up to the boys now to take it to the next level, which I'm sure they will under Uffie. It's important the Phoenix maintain that and better it. I just want to wish them all the best because they 100 percent deserve it."
And what of Taylor's now famous jet-ski which became as much a part of his legacy as his footballing feats?
"I'm trying to get it to Newcastle at the moment," he laughs.
"I don't think that's possible, so we'll have to figure that one out. That was a nice switch-off time for me. It was my Zen-time. I'll miss that after my training sessions."