At the ripe old age of 39, and after 23 years of professional football, the time has finally come for me to hang up my boots and pursue a career in coaching.

Football is deep-rooted in my heart, and my passion for the beautiful game will never fade. I have realised from managing my U18s over this last season at AFC Fylde that my love for playing on the pitch is equally matched to managing the play from the sidelines.

My passion is now to lead – my drive and determination that allowed me to succeed in my playing career now fuels me from the dugout – watching my U18s become the most successful team in the academy’s history by winning three cup finals this season has been amazing, and I finally feel ready to leave my playing days behind me for coaching.

From Scotland’s League 2 all the way up to the English Premiership, I grafted through nearly every level of the game. I made strong relationships with all the clubs that I have played at – however, in particular, Queen of the South, Swansea City and Blackpool deserve special mentions and will forever hold very special places in my heart.

The staff and fans from each club really welcomed me and my family with open arms, and for that, I will always be forever grateful – these clubs didn’t feel like an ’employer’ but like a family and made a huge impact on my playing career and also my life outside of football – THANK YOU.

Looking back over my career, there are so many highlights, playing at Wembley in Championship Playoff Finals in four consecutive seasons, and winning three of them with Blackpool, Swansea and Crystal Palace, was truly unbelievable. Reaching cup finals and playing in Europe with Queen of the South and Hibs also stand out but captaining Queen of the South, breaking their all-time record for ‘most goals scored in a season’ and entering the clubs ‘Hall of Fame’ is particularly special to me.

I am humbled to have played with so many amazing players and honoured to have played under world-class managers like Brendon Rodgers and Ian Holloway – these experiences have given me the best foundation for a coaching career of my own, having truly learned from the best.

Finally, a big thank you to my family and friends for their unwavering support over the years. Mum and Dad – I just want to say a special thank you for all your encouragement and endless support, I hope I’ve made you proud. To my wife, Susanne, and my two sons, Jack & Maxwell, no one really knows the ups and downs that a professional footballer really goes through on a weekly basis apart from the ones closest to them…you have picked me up during the lows and made me more determined to reach the highs, thank you for helping me to follow my dreams – I couldn’t have done it without you.

See you all in the next chapter!

Thanks, Dobbs.