Newport County AFC club legend David Pipe has announced he will call time on his playing career at the end of the season after 20 years’ service to the game.
The right-back – who twinned his playing role this season alongside becoming strength and conditioning coach – will now pursue other ventures to help the next generation.
Pipe has a functional area at the Newport Indoor Football Centre which he is keen to expand and he's also looking at developing a programme which could be rolled out in schools in the local Gwent Area.
He said at a press conference: “I’ll be making a clean cut from football at the end of the season.
“I’ve got a couple of things I’m pursuing regarding training children which I’ve been trying to set up over the past 12 months or so.
“I’m one of those people where if I can’t put everything into something then I struggle a bit. I need to dedicate my passion into that now and take it onto that next step.
“You can’t be half a professional footballer and half training children. It’s come to the point where I’ve had to make a decision and that’s what I’ll be doing come the end of the season.
“It’ll be tough making a clean break from football but I think I can handle it in the best way possible and there will be a lot of kids who can benefit.”
Helping and mentoring a new generation of young people is something Pipe has been interested in throughout his career.
Speaking to the County matchday programme ahead of the monumental victory over 2016 Premier League Champions Leicester City in January, he added: “It’s a small gym inside the Newport Indoor Football Centre.
“I got approached to put something in there and I use the pitches downstairs to overlap with the stuff that I do.
"It’s not a case of people coming in and picking up dumbbells, yes that is an option, but I’d like to think there is a wide variety with the stuff I’ve got in there. There’s boxing equipment, ropes, sleds and it ties in really nicely with being a footballer interested in fitness.
“When you have a group of kids come in and you see them enjoying what you’ve done for them whether that be football or general fitness then that’s good enough for me.
“I probably do get a bigger kick out of improving someone else than improving myself – whether that be physical or mental. Social Media nowadays can be a difficult place so if I can give someone a helping hand then I get more out of that than if I were doing something for myself.”
Pipe has made 205 appearances for the Exiles to date and will be looking to bow out on a high by helping the club reach the League Two play-offs come the end of the season.
He concluded: “I’m really proud of what I achieved during my career.
“The dream would be to get into the play-offs and getting through them with Wembley being my last game. If you were to write something perfect then that’s what I’d write.
“I haven’t quite got the pen to make sure that definitely happens, but I’ll have an influence on trying to make it happen.
“What’s happened in the last five / six years has been surreal – me leaving, coming back, The Great Escape and more.
“The bullet points, if you listed them all, then I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in every major thing that has happened at Newport County AFC during that time.
“I’d like to think I’ve left a big stamp on the club and the feeling is mutual. This club gave me an opportunity and I’d like to think I’ve repaid that.”