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Fans left gutted as Stockport County player decides to step away from football with immediate effect

Fans have been left gutted today after finding out Stockport County and ex-Tranmere Rovers player Jake Kirby deciding to step away from football with immediate effect.

The Hatters broke the news to their followers on social media with a statement from manager Jim Gannon about the 25 year old player who signed a two-year contract at the start of last season and was part of the title-winning team, bagging a total of four goals.

Jim Gannon said: “Jake has made the decision following a long period of thought. The recent knee injury which he picked up during County’s win at Wrexham last month highlighted once again the difficulties that Jake has had to contend with in terms of injuries in the last three years and accentuated many of his fears and feelings held within football. But there has been no simple or singular reason for Jake’s recent decision, just a strong feeling for change.

“We are very sorry to be losing Jake and it is with a heavy heart that we accepted his wish to leave. We have talked over the situation extensively and were happy to support him fully in his decision to leave football at this point. For whatever reason, or circumstance people find themselves in, it is not for us to seek to fully understand or solve, but simply to listen and support and help them find the right way for themselves. It is difficult to express all the emotions you go through for either party in such difficult discussions, but suffice to say that I felt more and more comfortable with Jake’s decision as I saw the tension being relieved with him letting go, and sensed his excitement of what is to come in the future.

“This is not a unique or exceptional situation for us. In recent years we’ve had difficult decisions with players such as Karl Ledsham and Gary Stopforth leaving prematurely from the club for life-changing opportunities abroad or in a new field, and we’ve tried to be as accepting and accommodating to make the transition as smooth as possible.

“There is perhaps a massive lesson for us at this club and for all in football: being a professional footballer is seen as being a great job in a great industry with all the trimmings that most would desire. However, it is a difficult and demanding industry. There is a danger to our physical and mental framework from the often excessive demands. This beautiful game has also been scarred by ugly people that preach violence and intimidation that is meant to harm others. I wish for my legacy to be that to be of a manager that cared about the game and all the health and well-being of all the participants. That may come in the form of awards for respect and fair play, but just as important are the words of those that worked for us and how they speak about us in years to come. Despite what we want to achieve for ourselves or others we must have a duty of care to those that rely on us for help and protection as well as our support to enjoy the game and their life to its fullest extent.”

Jake said: “I have opted to terminate my contract and look at other options. It has been a tough decision, but I feel this is the right thing to do.

“I just want to thank the County fans who have been brilliant with me over the last 16 months and I will always look back with affection on my time with the Hatters. The highlight was obviously last season and winning the National League North title at Nuneaton.

“I also want to thank all the staff at Edgeley Park, and particularly Jim who had the faith and belief in me to bring me to County last year. I will always look out for County’s results.”


As mentioned after fans found out that Jake Kirby resigned from playing football, they took to social media to express their sadness but also wish him luck for the future – see those tweets on the next page.


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