PAT Baldwin revealed that he is set to hang up his boots, after the Terras’ final fixture of the campaign was completed on Saturday.
The former Chelsea youngster, who enjoyed an illustrious career in the Football League before linking up with semi-professional Weymouth last summer, saw out the final minutes of his career when he came off the bench against Chesham United at the weekend.
The 33-year-old, who spent a decade as a player at Colchester United before going on to play for Southend and Exeter City, is now set to embark on a new challenge as a full-time teacher.
Explaining his decision to call time on his football career, he told Echosport: “When I played my last full game my knee didn’t feel right and I wasn’t able to do what I wanted to do.
“I always said to myself, if I got to that point, I would be hanging up my boots.
“I am 99.9 per cent certain that that is me done.
“I don’t want to struggle through another season and end up crippling myself in five or 10 years’ time. I am happy with the decision at the moment.
“I have got a job already which is good, so juggling a full-time teaching job with playing football just wouldn’t have worked and my family life would have suffered. I’m not prepared to do that.
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“I wasn’t emotional or anything on Saturday, I was quite relieved and I think that’s a big sign.
“In the last home game, I would have been happy for that to have been my last game, because it was the first game my son really saw me play. He was there at the game with my wife.”
Baldwin, whose former team-mates include the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Robert Huth, also reflected on his highlights in football.
They include gaining promotion and playing in the Championship with Colchester and also featuring for the U’s against Chelsea in the FA Cup in 2006.
Asked what the main thing he would miss from the game would be, Baldwin said: “It has got to be the dressing room.
“Especially when you are in a nice dressing room, I have played in plenty that have been really bad and I’m not going to miss that at all.
“I have worked under some amazing coaches and managers. One or two that I particularly didn’t like as well and they didn’t like me.
“Steve Clarke was certainly a big influence, obviously being a defender and a Chelsea legend, I had a hell of a lot of respect for him. He is an amazing guy and a lovely guy as well.”
Quizzed on what he will not miss, Baldwin replied: “The way my body feels after every game!
“Taking painkillers, I’m not going to miss doing that every game. Going a couple of days without seeing my son because of training, all of that to be honest.”
He added: “Overall I will miss it, I know I will in six months’ time when the novelty of having my weekends free has worn off. That’s when it will hit me.
“I am going to have that time on a Saturday now where I am going to be doing a bit of school planning, gardening, or whatever. I will get to three o’clock and I’ll wonder what’s happening.
“I certainly will be keeping abreast on Weymouth’s progress.”
Terras’ boss Jason Matthews added: “He (Baldwin) has been a great asset to the club, not only on the pitch but off of it in bringing Calvin (Brooks) and Jake (Wannell) to be the players that they are now.
“Pat said to me at the end that it’s been a pleasure and it has been one of his most enjoyable football seasons, which, for a player of that calibre to say, speaks volumes for our dressing room.”