Thorpe Plans to Retire

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Lee Thorpe is planning to retire from football after being released by Evo-Stik Northern Premier League First Division North club AFC Fylde.

The veteran striker, who turned 36 on Wednesday, signed for the season with Fylde but has left as a cost-saving measure and is now hoping to launch a coaching career.

The former Blackpool player, signed from Fleetwood Town in the summer, said: “The manager told me it was all budget related but I was a bit disappointed that the chairman did not contact me.

“I think it’s time to retire because I’m not getting any younger. I’ll be doing my coaching badges and hope for an opportunity somewhere in future.

“It was also disappointing because after signing a contract I thought I would be here for the season and could help the club to get promoted.

“I played a lot of games in a short space of time but thought I did well.”

Though Thorpe attracted some unwelcome headlines earlier in the season, when he was among the professional players named in a TV documentary as having taken recreational drugs, Thorpe had a productive half-season with the Coasters, scoring seven goals in thirteen starts.

Manager Dave Challinor said: “Lee was left out of games recently primarily for one reason and that was budget.

“I have a budget to stick to and any changes I wish to make need to fall within that, and he is one of the bigger earners in the squad.

“Thorpey is a great lad and it was a difficult conversation with him.

“He has openly admitted that the demands of this division are to be able to play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday most weeks – that’s without training – and although he still has the desire and drive to do this, his body won’t allow him to.

“He’s been exactly what I expected in terms of his attitude and professionalism as a former full-time player and in other circumstances things may well have been different.”

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About Author

Former Swansea City and Kettering Town defender who has been managing the likes of Kettering Town u18s, Rothwell Town, Desborough Town and Wellingborough Town for 33 years as well as being technical director at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Began in non-League journalism as editor of Team Talk magazine back in the early 1990s and then as editor of Non-League Daily, joining Pitchero to set up Pitchero Non-League in January 2011. Also works for the National League.

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