Rocks Review: Birmy’s retirement is end of an era

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Michael Birmingham has caused a shock at Nyewood Lane by deciding to retire just three games into the new season.

He is hanging up his boots after close to 700 appearances for the Rocks, who he has served for 16 years since he was a teenager.

The 36-year-old midfielder’s last appearance was in the opening-day win over Chipstead, when he was forced off injured.

Birmingham, who has been player, assistant manager and player-manager during his time at the club, said: “I just want to say thanks to everyone who has given me a fantastic support over the 16 years at Bognor. I will still be seen at the Nyewood carpet now and then - thank you all.”

A club statement said: ‘It is with great regret that the club has to announce the retirement of club captain Michael Birmingham, at the age of 36.

‘Michael has been a wonderful servant to The Rocks, and has amassed almost 700 matches and just under 100 goals for the club since joining from Dorchester Town in 1994.

‘Michael became player-manager of the cub in October 2007, saving the club from relegation from the Conference South that season, but left the club briefly the following season. He returned a year later, again as a player.

‘As a player and captain, Michael always gave 100% and his non-stop action and passion for the club will be very sadly missed by all associated with Bognor Regis Town.

‘It is hoped that he will continue to be associated with the club and will be discussing this in the near future with Jamie and Dabba.’

The news will be the talk of the terraces at bank holiday Monday’s game with Whitehawk, with many fans already having paid tribute to Birmy and calling for him to be granted a testimonial.

In a separate development, Perry Ryan’s return to the Rocks has proved shortlived. He has now joined Havant & Waterlooville and scored in their 4-1 win over Truro on Saturday.