Keith finally concedes career is over

MARINO Keith has finally conceded defeat and announced his retirement from professional football, after a long struggle to overcome an Achilles tendon injury.

By Carl Marston

MARINO Keith has finally conceded defeat and announced his retirement from professional football, after a long struggle to overcome an Achilles tendon injury.

Colchester United striker Keith endured nearly two years of anguish at Layer Road, after damaging his Achilles while running on the roads during the summer of 2005.

The 32-year-old scored four goals in 12 appearances for the U's at the back-end of the previous campaign, following his move from Plymouth, but his career then came to an abrupt halt in pre-season.

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“It's quite ironic that my last touch was to score the winner against Torquay United, which got them relegated,” recalled Keith last night.

“Torquay are rivals of Plymouth, but I didn't enjoy relegating them because I had several friends playing for them that day (May 7, 2005).

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“Amongst all the disappointment that I'm feeling, there's also a bit of relief. It's been a very hard time for me, with so many aborted comebacks and big let-downs. It was really beginning to get to me.

“It's time for me to move on. I gave myself every chance to get back to playing, and Colchester United have given me all the support that I needed, sending me to the top specialists.

“In a way, it was frustrating that I didn't get injured while playing in a game, although it's surprising how many footballers get injured during training.

“I finally had an operation last summer. The injury improved, but not enough for me to train every day. It was still painful, and I certainly didn't want to do myself any long-term harm,” added Keith.

Scotsman Keith, who was born in Peterhead and began his career in Scotland with Dundee United, now plans to return north of the border to pursue a career in IT or engineering.

And although his career in football has ended in disappointing fashion, he can still point to many highlights over a 12-year period.

“I enjoyed three Championships (one at Livingston and two with Plymouth), and four promotions (including one with Dundee United as well). It was also nice to be a part of last year's promotion with Colchester, though it was disappointing to only be looking on from the sidelines, while all the success was happening on the pitch.

“I'm now looking forward to the future. It's 12 years since me and my family have lived in Scotland. I was a late starter in football, only beginning at the age of 20, after I had done a four-year engineering apprenticeship in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen.

“I've also recently finished a five-year bachelor's degree in Information Technology and Computers, so I'm hoping to pursue a new career in these trades.

“I might also try and play football part-time, by playing a couple of non-league games before the end of the season.

“But if I'm still feeling pain, then I'll stop completely,” concluded Keith.

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