Former Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Steve Sidwell has confirmed his retirement from professional football and paid tribute to those who have helped him throughout a successful career.
Sidwell now embarks on a new chapter in his footballing life, with a dual role with Albion as a development coach with the under-16s and club ambassador, alongside his media and punditry work.
Sidwell said, “Inevitably all good things come to an end, and sadly today I close the chapter of my professional football career.
“I am so lucky and privileged to have lived every kid’s dream of playing football for a living, and to do that over a 20-year career is something I am extremely proud of.
“I am excited and ready for the next stage, which I will tackle head on, as I did throughout my career. Everything I have achieved would not have been possible without the support of my amazing family, the unconditional love from my wife Krystell, my four amazing children, my brother and sister, and most notably, my mum and dad.
“The sacrifices you made, and your commitment and belief in me helped to make my dreams a reality. For this, I will always be indebted to you, and my only goal throughout my career was to make you proud, and I hope I’ve done that.”
The former midfielder also thanked everyone within football that has aided him on his journey, and looked ahead to his new dual role as a youth development phase coach and ambassador at Albion.
“To all my former clubs, managers, coaches, players, staff and supporters, I thank you all sincerely for giving me the memories that I will not forget. The highs and lows, blood, sweat and tears, scars and broken bones, each have a part in my story, and one I would never change.
“Now it is time for the next chapter, having completed my coaching badges, I am excited to take up a role at Brighton’s academy, alongside my ambassadorial duties. I will combine this with my ongoing media commitments.”
Albion chief executive Paul Barber said, “It is a pleasure to welcome Steve back to the club, as he undertakes these two new and exciting roles.
“He remains a very popular figure with our players, staff and fans, and we were delighted to give him the opportunity to help to bring through the next generation of players in our academy.
“He’ll combine his work in the academy with a role as club ambassador, alongside Alan and Bobby, and also continue with his media work.
“This illustrates how much we value the importance of having characters like Steve at the club, and I would like to wish him well in both roles.”
Sidwell first arrived at Albion on loan from Arsenal in November 2002, and scored five goals in 12 appearances, before securing a permanent move to Reading the following February.
After earning promotion to the Premier League with the Royals in 2007, the midfielder moved onto Chelsea and had subsequent spells with Aston Villa, Fulham and Stoke City.
Sidwell returned to the Seagulls on a loan deal from Stoke in January 2016, before the deal was made permanent the following summer.
The 35-year-old played a key role in Albion’s 2016/17 promotion-winning campaign, making 37 appearances in all competitions, and won the Sky Bet EFL Goal of the Season award with an unforgettable strike away at Bristol City.