Former captain Leadbitter's message to Town fans as he retires

Hull V Ipswich
Grant Leadbitter scores from the penalty spot at Hull

Former Ipswich Town captain Grant Leadbitter has announced his retirement

Former Ipswich Town captain Grant Leadbitter has announced his retirement from football.

The 35-year-old, who played 126 games for the Blues between September 2009 and May 2012, scoring 14 goals, revealed the news on Instagram.

Leadbitter, who cost Town £2.65m from Sunderland in 2009, played 48 games for boyhood club the Black Cats last season, scoring seven goals, as they reached the League One play-off semi-finals.

He also played for Middlesbrough - captaining them to Premier League promotion in 2016 - in an impressive professional career which saw him make almost 600 appearances all told, scoring 65 goals.

Middlesbrough midfielder Grant Leadbitter

Grant Leadbitter captained Middlesbrough to promotion to the Premier League. - Credit: Archant

Writing on Instagram, he said: "After taking a few months off to enjoy a holiday with the family and reflect, I've realised I am ready to retire.

"Of course there has been a temptation to carry on, but since playing my final game for Sunderland in May I have had it in my mind I wasn't going to play on. I just wanted to be sure it was the correct decision.

"For me to finish after my second and final spell at the club where it all started, the one I supported as a boy, and where I loved going with my mam and dad, just seems right.

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"Now I can look forward.

"I would like to thank my mam and dad for everything they did for me and my sisters - helping me to fulfil a dream.

Sunderland's Lynden Gooch (left) and Grant Leadbitter celebrate with the Papa John's Trophy after th

Grant Leadbitter, right, lifted the Papa John's Trophy with Sunderland - Credit: PA

"And, of course, I want to thank my wife and two daughters for all of their support throughout a career which has led me to play for clubs with great history.

"The memories I have from playing for Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Ipswich will live with me forever. 

"Those promotion celebrations with Sunderland and Middlesbrough were incredible and I am proud to have played in the Premier League for both.

"I have worked with some fantastic people, some top players and under brilliant managers. I loved wearing the colours of all the clubs I played for and it was an honour to wear the England shirt from schoolboy all the way up to Under-21s.

"Who knows what the future holds but I am excited about it. I will miss playing but whether I go into coaching, the media or even something else I know I can draw on my experiences and help others in the future.

"Once again, thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way."

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