City midfielder Dave Savage has decided to call time on his 21-year football career.
The former Oxford United and Republic of Ireland player, who is 38 in July, said he had to think long and hard before hanging up his boots after making 463 professional appearances, scoring 35 goals in the process.
“I just felt that towards the end of the season I wasn’t coping physically – I was struggling with knee and ankle problems – and it’s important to know when to pack it in,” said Savage, who played 85 games for the U’s and netted five times between 2001-3.
“I’m going to miss playing massively. The club (City) gave me a little something at the awards night and when I went up to say a few words it finally dawned on me that I wouldn’t be playing again.
“Although I was playing only part-time, every Friday you prepare for a game as usual, so it’s going to take a bit of getting used to. Nothing will replace playing.”
Born in Dublin, he made his League of Ireland debut for Kilkenny in 1990, before he joined Millwall.
After a four-year spell, which included famous cup wins over Arsenal and Chelsea, he signed for Northampton Town where, under the guidance of ex-Oxford boss Ian Atkins, he helped the Cobblers to promotion.
He later joined Oxford United where he linked up again with Atkins, before moving with his old boss to Bristol Rovers. He had a spell at non-League Rushden & Diamonds and joined Brackley Town, from where he signed by Oxford City boss Mike Ford.
Savage said he had many high points, but cited City’s escape from relegation as one of his best achievements.
He added: “The pinnacle is to represent your country – it’s what any kid who plays football wants to do.
“I have loved every minute of it"
Savage added: “This year was a struggle at City, but the players showed a tremendous reaction and got their reward.
“They were all under extreme pressure and I think it’s a really good achievement to stay up.”
He concluded: “I have had 20 years of being around football and need a bit of a break. But you never know, in three or four months I might be climbing the walls.”
Ford said: “He’s been a really good role model for our younger players, so we will miss him next season.
“His best quality is his calmness. Football moves on very quickly, but he won’t be forgotten. He was absolutely magnificent.”