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Two experienced EFL players retire after 16 years playing professionally

Two experienced EFL players retire from the beautiful game with the 2019/20 season nearly over, after 16 years playing professionally.

34 year old Matt Mills was the first of the duo to reveal that he has come to the decision to hang up his boots, posting an emotional message on social media.

It comes with League Two side Forest Green Rovers saying that experienced the centre-back would be leaving at the end of the season.

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A post shared by Matt Mills (@mmillsy4) on

He said: “Dear My Footballing Family, it’s time for me to walk away from the game I love. My boots have been hung up for the last time.

“This is a very emotional day for me, not because it’s the end, I’m ready for that. It’s the fact that for as long as I can remember I have been a footballer and it’s all I’ve ever known.

“Football on the face of it is just a game but to me it will always be more than that. It has provided me with a career and given me memories I could have only ever dreamt of.

“I’ve been incredibly lucky to have represented the clubs I have and worked with some amazing people. Thank you !

“It hasn’t always been easy and I don’t want to kid anyone it has been. But these experiences – good and bad – are all sent to test us and make us better people.

“Lastly thank you to my family for the support you’ve given me I love you all and I hope I’ve made you proud.

“I’m Very excited for what the future will bring.

“Thank you all for your support. Matthew Mills.”

It brings an end to his 16-year senior career, having started out at Southampton, coming up from the Saints’ youth academy before playing for many clubs, most notably Doncaster, Reading, Leicester, Bolton and Nottingham Forest.


2003–2006 – Southampton – 4 games
2004 → Coventry City (loan) – 4 games
2005 → Bournemouth (loan) – 12 games (3 goals)
2006–2008 – Manchester City – 2 games
2007 → Colchester United (loan) – 9 games
2007 → Doncaster Rovers (loan) – 14 games (2 goals)
2008 → Doncaster Rovers (loan) – 20 games (1 goal)
2008–2009 – Doncaster Rovers – 41 games
2009–2011 – Reading – 61 games (4 goals)
2011–2012 – Leicester City – 25 games (1 goal)
2012–2015 – Bolton Wanderers – 87 games (6 goals)
2015–2018 – Nottingham Forest – 82 games (6 goals)
2018 – Barnsley – 4 games
2018–2019 – Pune City – 12 games (1 goal)
2019–2020 – Forest Green Rovers – 19 games

National team
2004–2005 – England U19 – 8 games

The latest player to say they are retiring is Jamie Mackie, who has one the losing team when Oxford were defeated by Wycombe in the League One playoff final.

He told the club website: “It was extremely tough because I have loved every moment of being a footballer and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. Those play-off games were so emotional especially because I had known all the way through that they would be my last games.

“ I wanted to end on a high but that wasn’t to be and so the last week or so has been all about talking it through with my family and making sure it wasn’t just a reaction to the disappointment of losing at Wembley.

“It’s not that. It’s about knowing when the time is right to hang the boots up. Karl Robinson and everyone at Oxford has been brilliant and it has been a pleasure to come in to work every day alongside them. But it’s time for a new challenge. If that’s in football in some way then great, but if not then I can walk away knowing that I have given it everything I had to give in every training session and in every game I played.”

Karl Robinson said: “We understand and respect Jamie’s decision and I want to thank him personally for everything he has given us not just on the pitch but off it. He has that tremendous enthusiasm for the game and to retain that passion for so many years is remarkable.

“He’s talked about media work but whatever he does I know he will be successful because there is an honesty and a work ethic which I know he will always have.

“He knows he is always welcome here and on behalf of the football club we thank him and wish him well.”

The Oxford United striker announced his retirement as a professional footballer after over 500 games.

Jamie was a trainee at Wimbledon back in 2003 but made his name at Exeter City before moving to Plymouth Argyle and then QPR where his non-stop enthusiasm quickly made him a crowd favourite. After spells at Nottingham Forest, Reading, and a second spell at Loftus Road he joined the U’s in the summer of 2018 and made 91 appearances with his farewell coming in the League 1 play-off semi-final at home to Portsmouth.

Jamie, who made nine appearances for Scotland, told the club that it was a tough decision to have to make.


2003–2004 – Wimbledon – 13 games (0 goals)
2004–2005 – Milton Keynes Dons – 3 games (0 goals)
2005–2008 – Exeter City – 87 games (19 goals)
2005 → Sutton United (loan) – 5 games (2 goals)
2008–2010 – Plymouth Argyle – 98 games (16 goals)
2010–2013 – Queens Park Rangers – 85 games (18 goals)
2013–2015 – Nottingham Forest – 45 games (4 goals)
2014–2015 → Reading (loan) – 32 games (5 goals)
2015–2018 – Queens Park Rangers – 54 games (6 goals)
2018–2020 – Oxford United – 52 games (7 goals)

National team
2010–2012 – Scotland – 9 games

Fans reacted after seeing each of the two experienced EFL players announce that they will retire…


nick_montgomery8: congrats on a great Career. Always the utmost professional and real leader. No doubt big things ahead for you

paulalvin1969: Good Luck for the future Matt thank you for your service to my club Nottingham Forest ??

burndenaces: All the very best for the future. Thank you again for coming on our podcast a few weeks ago – the signs of retirement were there in your voice but happy you’ve come to terms with it all. Good luck with your next steps, business or whatever that may be.

sas.sloman: There was no doubt, even at school when you said you wanted to be a footballer all those years ago, that you’d make it. My teenage stepson is football mad and was very impressed and inspired to hear of your football career – from such a young age to now. Really emotionally and beautiful post – congratulations on all your achievements @mmillsy4 ❤️?

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