Yeovil Town midfielder Jimmy Smith will join the coaching set-up at Premier League side Chelsea after announcing his retirement from playing.
The 34-year-old, who began his career at Stamford Bridge back in 2005, confirmed that he will hang up his boots following the final match of the National League season against $tockport County at Huish Park on Saturday.
Speaking to the club’s official website, Smith said “I’ve had two very different seasons in my time at Yeovil. The first one was unbelievable, to play for this club I’ve always thought so highly of throughout my career was special.
“I have a good relationship with the gaffer (Darren Sarll) and (assistant manager) Terry (Skiverton) and have learnt so much from them.
“What we created as a team, staff, and fans together was amazing, playing home and away, the fans are truly the 12th man, which is something we have missed this season.
“Sharing the moment with our fans is something will always stick with me, especially when we sing our song all together. I was gutted we couldn’t achieve promotion in the play offs.”
Asked about the player’s retirement in his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Sarll said that both Smith and full-back Carl Dickinson, who plays his final game this weekend before taking over as manager at Hanley Town, will be “sorely missed.”
He said: “Jimmy came to us in a winning period which always helps and then helped kick us on, but this year his contribution off the pitch has been fantastic. He is going to go in to a full-time coaching environment now and he is going to be a fabulous coach, he just needs to take his time and develop his practices and everything he wants to be known as as a coach. He is someone like Carl who wanted to be here. It is hard to attract those people who want to be here because we are not making anyone a millionaire. We are either on the back nine for some or just starting out, but Carl and Jimmy will be sorely missed because they are great pros.”
Yeovil Town will be the final club in Smith’s playing career which spans 15 years and includes loan spells at QPR, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday whilst on the books at Chelsea and long stints with Crawley Town and Leyton Orient.
He will now join another ex-Glover Anthony Barry among the coaching set-up at Chelsea. Barry, part of the Glovers’ side that reached the League One play-off final in 2007, is a first-team coach at the Champions League finalists.
He has played 51 times scoring seven goals for Darren Sarll’s side and everyone at the Gloverscast wishes him all the best in his next adventure – and would like to ask him to send the cream of the Chelsea academy crop to Huish Park!