Newport County AFC club legend David Pipe has revealed that trying to help the next generation of young people is his motivation for calling time on his playing career at the end of this season.
Over the past 12 months, Pipe has been setting up his own business to help and develop youngsters in a functional space at the Newport Indoor Football Centre.
The 35-year old is also looking to develop a mentoring programme which could be rolled out across schools in the Gwent area targeting students who perhaps struggle and find it difficult within the education system.
Speaking after County’s 0-0 draw at Macclesfield Town yesterday, Pipe exclusively told iFollow Exiles: “Rather than me giving money to a charity, I want to give my time. I want to turn up and have an actual effect.
“It’s not me ticking boxes, it is literally about changing lives. I’m sure like most things in my life I’ll prove I can be successful at it.
“When you’re a teenager and you need to talk about the tough things or maybe they’re going on their way into prison then if I can stop that it would be a success.
“It’s a lot easier for me to connect with someone than it is for someone who hasn’t experienced what I have. I’m trying to target fitness with it because that’s what I specialise in but it’s a blend of both.
“There’s not anyone I know who has had the same sort of career professional wise but also being able to dig in to the dark murky side of not having a nice life.
“I’m not saying I didn’t have a good life but there’s things I’ve witnessed and seen, and I’ve fortunately been able to come through them.
“It’s a tough thing to try and explain to people like teachers but fortunately for myself, kids want to listen to a professional footballer and I know I can make a difference.”
For now, Pipe is solely focused on achieving the fairy-tale ending to his football career by helping County reach the League Two play-offs.
Like every other player in the squad, Pipe knows victories in the final three games of the season will be enough to secure a place in the top-seven come the end of the campaign.
And the defender is targeting bowing out of professional football in a play-off final at Wembley Stadium, where he has played four times – three of which for County.
“I’ve said it in a few interviews, but I had a guy come up to me five years ago asking me to write a book regarding what’s happened in my career and my turnaround.
“I told him that there would be a lot more to come and thankfully I was right.
“There’s been a lot of positive stuff regarding what’s happened – leaving and coming back was a fairy-tale in itself, obviously you add the Great Escape into that, then the Tottenham’s and Man City’s but for me to hopefully bow out in a Wembley play-off final then I don’t even know how to put that into words to be honest.”
It’s almost impossible to try and summarise Pipe’s career at the club in a few paragraphs, as there have been so many high points in the 205 appearances he’s made so far with the club.
In his first spell, Pipe helped County stave off relegation from the Conference in 2011/12 alongside getting the club to Wembley Stadium in the FA Trophy final – on the 100th anniversary of the original club being formed.
The 35-year old then departed the club for Forest Green Rovers in 2014 but returned in January 2017 to make even more memories that will be etched in the minds of supporters for generations.
Pipe’s return coincided with the miraculous ‘Great Escape’ in 2016/17, before helping the club reach the Fifth Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time since 1949 this current campaign.
Asked to pick one standout moment, Pipe confirmed: “Being the captain of my hometown club and lifting that trophy at Wembley when I had been told that I’d never play football again by certain personnel was brilliant because I wanted to prove them wrong.
“That’s up there as the best moment but to be honest, just being involved at all is good enough for me. I’m not someone who needs to be scoring the goals, I just like being part of something.
“I’ve definitely been part of something here and so have a lot of others in that dressing room both staff wise and player wise.
“It’s not all about me. But I’d like to think I’ve had a big impact at the football club.
“You can’t really compare myself with any other footballer. There can’t be many that firstly go to prison then come out of prison and play at Wembley four times.
“The ones that have gone in prison for short amounts of time usually find it a struggle when they come out. To do what I’ve done and be able to take the opportunity given to me by the football club when I first came out makes me a proud man.”
Newport County AFC would like to place on record its thanks to David Pipe for his dedication, service and commitment to the club during his two spells and would like to wish him well in his future endeavors.
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