AFC Bournemouth defender Stephen Purches has stated that deciding to retire from football was the hardest decision of his career.
The 34 year old made 271 appearances for The Cherries, but has decided after a serious injury back in 2012, to end his footballing career.
Speaking to BBC Radio Solent, Purches said: “Mentally I’ve been prepared for it for the past year.
“You can go through spells where you think you are OK. But when you need anti-inflammatories to get through training I’ve been mentally prepared for retirement but it is still a hard decision to say ‘that’s it’ and ‘I can’t do it anymore’.
Purches received a double leg fracture playing away at Rochdale two years ago, and has never played a first team match since.
But the full back holds no grudges for not getting another chance and said: “I’m finishing with the club I wanted to and I played my last game for the club that has meant a great deal to me over my time.
“Definite highs were that game in Cardiff, signing here and the testimonial against West Ham.
“It was only 25 minutes but I loved every minute of it, it was a great way to sign off. I played 25 minutes against West Ham and 15 minutes against Real Madrid so my last game at Dean Court was against Madrid.
“So it’s not too bad and I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I’m looking forward to moving on with the club.”
Purches spent the first two years of his career at West Ham before signing for Bournemouth in 2000.
His first stint at Dean Court lasted for seven years and he scored ten goals, before moving to Leyton Orient where he scored five goals in 110 appearances.
In 2010 Purches moved back to Bournemouth and after making 33 appearances in four years, he has decided to retire from football.