This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career. To stop something you love when you don’t physically have to.
After speaking to a lot of people I trust in the game and the closest people to me, as well as a lot of thinking myself, I’ve made the decision to retire from football.
People may question my decision to stop playing but, for me, I’ve given everything, put my body to the limit every day physically and feel I’ve achieved all I can so now it’s time for a new challenge.
Firstly, I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who helped me and had an influence on my career from the beginning until the end. I’ve met some fantastic people who I feel fortunate to have worked with, learned from and made some long lasting friends.
I want to thank all my teammates over the years. It’s been a pleasure to meet so many different people from all different backgrounds, to work together and become part of a team. Many ups and downs.
The fans who have supported me at every club. Growing up I was always taught to give your all and do the best you can - I hope you all agree I have given you that.
Special mention to my parents Kim and Andy, who without their dedication to my football in the early years, taking me training twice weekly and games across the country, I wouldn’t be writing this now. Thank you mum and dad for your continued support throughout.
Final mention to my wife who I’ve been lucky enough to be with since the start of my journey, and share it with her all the way. She has supported me, made sacrifices for me, relocated with me and helped me mentally, so thank you to you. Love you.
Thank you to all the clubs I’ve been lucky to be a part of, Bognor Regis, Woking, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Leeds United, Wigan Athletic and Charlton Athletic.
To captain every club, staying up starting the season on -17 points, to achieve three promotions and lift the trophy at Wembley, I have achieved more than I could have imagined. But it hasn’t all been highs. I’ve had three relegations, two due to administration, injuries, set-backs, lots of things which you have to take in the right way and learn from and come back stronger.
I always remember Shaun North at the Portsmouth pre academy meeting speaking to the apprentices-to-be; he said don’t ever think you’ve made it until you have played over 500 league games.
I can say “I’ve made it.” To any young players reading this: Your career goes by very quickly, give it your best shot, try and make the right choices, learn from setbacks and above all else ENJOY IT!
THE NEXT CHAPTER
I feel very fortunate to have been offered the U18 coaching role which allows me to take the next step in my career and work with the next generation of players from Charlton’s prestigious academy.
I thank Steve Avory in showing belief in me.
For me, the opportunity to work in the Charlton academy, helping the next generations coming through is too good to turn down. It ticks all the boxes for my next chapter, which I have been working hard towards for the past SIX years.
I now want to share my knowledge and experience and grow as a coach to help all the players coming through.