As ‘Well legend Stevie Hammell prepares to hang up his boots, the defender is looking ahead to the next chapter in his football career.
Nearly 20 years in claret and amber have seen Hammell become the club’s post-war record appearance holder, pulling on the shirt 582 times.
And it’s a career that the 35-year-old looks back on with undoubted pride.
“It’s been almost 20 years to the day that I joined here,” he said. “I came straight out of school and between then and now there’s been a lot of good memories made that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.
“Playing so many times for this club, a club that I love, and playing in so many European games as well as for the national team are some real highlights. I’ve made so many lifelong friends in staff members and team-mates.”
Whilst there is a element of pride and excitement for the next chapter of the experienced defender’s career, there is also a slight air of sadness to draw the curtain on such his remarkable playing days.
“I think as a young boy and when you start getting older and hit 30, then that magic 35 number comes your way, you want to be remembered. When you stop playing and hang the boots up, you want to be remembered fondly.
“It would be nice to be remembered as a player who gave his all whenever given his chance. The fans have been magnificent to me, there’s no denying that, I just hope I’ve repaid them by giving my all when I had the strip on.”
The transition may have come slightly earlier than he had planned, but Hammell admits he has been preparing for life after playing, and that this opportunity is one he will relish.
He said: “This is something I’ve prepared for for a number of years – it’s not just something that has fallen on my lap. I’m hugely honoured to have been sought out to do the job, but it’s something I’ve also prepared for.
“Over the last ten years I’ve done nearly every coaching badge or course – I’ve been to everything. It may have come a little earlier than I expected but it’s something I’ve got real confidence I can do well at.”