Retiring is tough but former Brighton duo can still be great ambassadors for the sport - Johnny Cantor

Steve Sidwell. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Steve Sidwell. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

For some it comes too early. For others it comes too late. And if you are lucky it comes just at the right time. Christmas? No, I’m talking about retirement.

Alastair Cook called time on his illustrious career with the England cricket team and the final Test was a fairy tale. Despite his longevity at the crease, some ex players still debated whether the time was right.

Liam Rosenior. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Liam Rosenior. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

I guess ultimately only the person in question knows best. Of course for some sportsmen and women it isn’t a choice. Injury can cut short a player’s career and the end can come quicker than anticipated.

Nowadays there is more support for elite players after they finish playing but often they are giving up something they love.

It was actually refreshing to hear former Albion midfielder Steve Sidwell admit that he shed a tear when he finally made the decision to call it a day.

He must have so many great memories and after his start with Arsenal and time at Chelsea he also experienced the highs of promotion with Reading and Brighton and Hove Albion.

A back injury hampered his final season in the Premier League but at 35 he felt the time was right. The announcement came after a holiday with the family but he will continue to be able to contribute as an under-16 coach and an ambassador.

He says it’s time to give something back. He admits life will change as he has had to register with a doctor for the first time in his life! And that is what I like about him. He is honest. That is not to say we know everything but in his punditry for Sky he has an opinion and tells it as it is.

It’s for this reason I think he will be a success as he moves onto the next chapter of his career.

This week on Albion Unlimited we discussed his and Liam Rosenior’s retirement as a player with two ex Seagulls who had the choice made for them.

Current BBC Sussex summariser Warren Aspinall and my former partner in the commentary box Adam Virgo both had injuries. They both still love the game and that comes across when they talk about matches, managers and midfielders.

They say we will have to work until we reach 70 and clearly you can do all sorts of sports until a ripe old age but it can never be easy to call it quits when you have devoted your life to one sport or one pursuit.

Sidwell will still put the boots on to teach the stars of the future at the Academy just like Rosenior with the under-23s.

They will also both be in the glare of the TV studio. In a way it’s the start of something new, not the end and I can only wish them both the best for the future.

They are ambassadors for the club but in a way they are ambassadors for their sport. That role can go on forever.

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