Harrogate Town's former Bradford City stalwart Rory McArdle to retire from football
The 36-year-old centre-half, who has registered more than 400 Football League appearances during a professional career spanning nearly two decades, has spent the last two seasons at Wetherby Road.
A regular starter when fit for the Sulphurites last term, McArdle has played just 12 times so far during the current campaign and says that he has realised the time has come to hang up his boots.
"Throughout my career I have always tried to do the right thing, whether that be for the club, the team or for myself,” the ex-Northern Ireland international said. “This has been a hard decision to make but I think the last six months have helped me to take this decision.
“If I am not playing I always want to do everything I can to help the players in my position to prepare for games. That change of focus has been a fresh challenge which I have enjoyed and now this decision is one which has been made on my terms.
“I am privileged to have some wonderful people round about me who have helped me get to this point. My mum and dad have been great supporters, growing up they took me up and down the country and without them none of this would have been possible.
“My wife Elizabeth has always understood the unpredictability of football, she has sacrificed a lot too. While I have been playing, it’s been difficult to plan things socially but hopefully now we can enjoy these things together with the kids.
“I have also been honoured to work with incredible managers and players who have all helped me throughout my career. I'd like to thank them all for making my time as a professional so enjoyable.”
Of the two years spent working under Simon Weaver at Harrogate, McArdle, who is line to bow out when Town play their final game of 2022/23 at home to Rochdale next Monday added: “In my time here, the gaffer has always gone above and beyond to help me both on the pitch and off it. That is something which has stuck with me and I will try to do moving forward.
“It’s strange how it comes full circle. Rochdale was the club where I began my professional career really. I have some great memories of my time there including a play-off final and promotion so I’m looking forward to facing them next week.”
McArdle joined the Sulphurites from Exeter City in the summer of 2021, having previously turned out for Scunthorpe United, Bradford City, Aberdeen, Rochdale and Sheffield Wednesday.
Arguably the best years of his long career were spent in West Yorkshire, where he made close to 200 appearances for the Bantams, contributing several important goals including a League Cup semi-final effort against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
He has played almost 40 matches during his time with Town, his only goal coming during a 3-0 victory over Carlisle United at the back end of last season.