Motherwell Football Club can today confirm Stephen McManus will retire from playing to take up a coaching role within the club’s Academy.
Former Scotland captain McManus, 34, enjoyed a very successful career, coming through the youth ranks to eventually captain Celtic. He played over 200 times across seven seasons for the Parkhead club, winning the SPL title on three occasions, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups.
It was at that point where the Lanark-born defender earned the majority of his International honours, eventually collecting 26 caps, scoring twice.
A £1.5m move to Middlesbrough followed and he was on Teeside for four years and played 77 times. During that spell, he also had a couple of loan stints with English Championship rivals Bristol City before joining the Steelmen in the summer of 2013.
He has turned out over 150 times in Claret and Amber and was a virtual ever-present until an injury at Celtic Park in early 2017 ended his season and required a double operation.
McManus played once during the Betfred Cup campaign this year, but has decided to call a halt to his playing career to take up a role within the Academy as the club prepares for the new era under the Project Brave initiative.
[pullquote]I want to thank the fans of every club I’ve played for, particularly at ‘Well where I’ve enjoyed myself tremendously over the past five seasons. I now look forward to the next chapter in my career.[/pullquote]
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, McManus said: “Obviously when it comes to the point where you are going to officially retire from playing, you always do so with a bit of a heavy heart.
“However, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I believe this is the right time for me, particularly with the club giving me this opportunity in a new era for Academies in Scotland.
“I am also very excited to be learning from the great coaching staff we have at Motherwell at the moment; that was the main attraction for me. I want to develop myself as a coach and this is a wonderful opportunity.
“I want to thank the fans of every club I’ve played for, particularly at ‘Well where I’ve enjoyed myself tremendously over the past five seasons. I now look forward to the next chapter in my career.”
‘Well boss Stephen Robinson said: “We are absolutely delighted to be brining someone like Stephen onto our staff as he will be a huge asset to the club.
“He’s a former Celtic and Scotland captain and has played almost 500 career games; that’s a wealth of experience that our younger players now have at their disposal.
“It was a massive decision for him personally and it’s a real testament to Stephen as a guy that he wants to make this step at this stage of his life.
“I believe he’ll make a tremendous coach one day and he’s doing it in the correct way, getting his badges and doing the hard work on the training ground first.”
Academy Director Scott Leitch said: “We’re delighted Stephen has formalised his role within the Academy and he can step up some of the excellent work he’s already carried out with us.
“We’ve got a great tradition of ex-Motherwell players giving back to the Academy; as well as Stephen, we’ve also had the likes of Willie Pettigrew, Steven Hammell, David Clarkson, James McFadden, and Keith Lasley.
“This will only enhance what we can offer and I am excited to be working with Stephen in the months and years to come.”