Newly-retired Blackpool legend Gary Taylor-Fletcher says his memorable spell at Bloomfield Road will always remain the highlight of his career.
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The popular ex-Pool player celebrated his 38th birthday yesterday and revealed he was hanging up his boots to concentrate on the next stage of his career.
Signed from Huddersfield Town in 2007, ‘GTF’ spent six years at Bloomfield Road and was a key member of the Blackpool squad that achieved promotion to the Premier League in 2010, scoring in the play-off final at Wembley.
Taylor-Fletcher scored Blackpool’s first and last goals of the 2010-11 Premier League season, finishing with 39 goals to his name from 237 Pool appearances before joining Leicester City.
He told The Gazette: “I’ve gone from non-league with Northwich Victoria to the Premier League with Blackpool and then back down again.
“I’ve done basically everything any footballer can do in terms of scoring in all the leagues, in all the cup competitions and playing in Europe as well.
“It’s been a real big ride but obviously the day at Wembley is the one that stands out more than anything.
“Blackpool is like a second family to myself, with all the players and staff that were there. We all keep in touch.
“We have the reunions and I’m sure there will be another next year to celebrate 10 years on from the play-off final win.
“Blackpool was the main club. It was the focal point of my career.
“But at Lincoln we made some great memories with the play-off runs and the same sort of thing at Huddersfield.”
Taylor-Fletcher held management roles at his last two clubs, Bangor and Llandudno, and says he can’t rule out a future in coaching.
But right now his focus is on resting with his family and continuing to work with his football agency.
“I just thought, ‘You know what – it’s my 38th birthday, so I might as well announce it and get it done with’,” he added.
“It’s nice to announce it in the middle of June, the end of the season, after 20 years of pre-seasons.
“It wasn’t a decision I’ve just made on a whim. There are a few other things I had to consider in terms of how my career has gone in the last few years.
“Being a player-manager and most recently starting work at a football agency – that’s took over a little bit and I wanted to concentrate on that.
“I just thought the time was right because a few things are starting to fall into place for a future career.
“I’ve had a good run but now is the time to have a bit of rest and family time, and move on from there.
“Normally I would just be finishing my season at this time of the year but now is the time to focus on other things, have a good rest and enjoy a few holidays.”