Sutton club captain and coach Jamie Collins has announced his retirement from the game. He will be part of the coaching team for the New Year's Day game against Woking and the visit to Chesterfield before moving to take up a full time job outside the game.
Jamie, who was 35 in September, was signed in January 2015 after being released by Eastleigh, making his debut in the 3-2 defeat at Weston-super-Mare, and went on to captain the side to the National League South championship the following season and through the memorable FA Cup run that followed, scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the fourth round defeat of Leeds United (above). He was voted Player of the Year in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. In all he has made 243 appearances, the last of which was in the FA Trophy replay defeat at Dagenham, and scored 35 goals, including three in the National League this season.
Jamie said: I've been thinking about my future outside football for a couple of years now, as we all know football isn't the most secure of occupations, and, while it's happened a bit more quickly than I thought, I've been offered a job which at this stage of my career I couldn't turn down. It's been the hardest decision I've had to make, as I've had the best five years of my footballing career here and have met some great people who will be friends for life, but for family reasons it's the right decision to make.''
Manager Matt Gray said: ''I was very sorry to hear the news when Jamie told me, but we respect that he has to consider his future after football, and it's the best decision for him and his family. He has been a hugely influential member of the squad throughout his time at the club, and a massive help to me as a member of the coaching staff since I became manager, as well as a good friend, and for those reasons I'm chatting to him about the possibility of him still being around at games as and when he is available.''
Club chairman Bruce Elliott paid tribute to Jamie's time at the club. ''Jamie has been an outstanding club captain through a momentous period for the club, and has been a magnificent ambassador for the club. We are obviously sorry that he is to leave us, but as Matt says we completely understand and respect his decision, and hope he will still be able to maintain some involvement with us if he can.''
Jamie will give an interview to SUFCtv at the New Year's Day game against Woking, reflecting on his five years at the club and the decision he has made.