AFC Bournemouth development coach Stephen Purches has formally retired as a player.
The 34 year old who hasn’t featured for the first team since suffering a double break of the tibia and fibula against Rochdale in February 2012, visited a specialist earlier this month who advised him to retire.
Purches originally joined AFC Bournemouth in June 2000, with his seven year spell being best remembered for his goal at the Millennium Stadium during the Cherries Play-Off victory over Lincoln in 2003.
Purches left Dean Court in 2007 after 272 appearances for the Cherries.
He went on to join Leyton Orient, with the former West Ham trainee being named Leyton Orient captain. He made 122 appearances during three seasons in League One with the London club.
Purches signed for the Cherries for a second playing spell in 2010 under former team mate and manager Eddie Howe.
In 2012, just a few weeks into a new 2 and a half year deal, Purches unfortunately broke his leg and spent the next 16 months on the sidelines before being announced as a player-coach, taking over the development squad from Chris Hargreaves.
Purches never made another appearances for the first team.
Overall he made 43 appearances for the Cherries during his second spell, taking his AFC Bournemouth appearances tally to 315.
Purches will remain as part of the Cherries backroom staff post retirement.
Purches told the Daily Echo…
“My leg is back to a point where I can kick a ball and run but not to the level it needs to be to play professional football and I have been advised to call it a day.
“It was a tough decision to make but, once you know it is the end, you have to be honest with yourself. I tried my best last season to give myself every chance to play but it wasn`t to be. Nobody wants to finish playing but things happen for a reason…’
‘…I have been very fortunate to have been given an opportunity to carry on working here, I wouldn`t want to be anywhere else because I have learned a great deal from the manager (Eddie Howe) and Jason (Tindall) over the past 12 months.
“Working with the development squad has given me a really good insight into everything that goes on. When you are on the coaching side, you can never switch off and it is non-stop. I have been lucky to have had a chance to gradually move into that side of the game…’
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