A sad day for Irish football as ‘The Ginger Pele’ Gary Doherty calls it a day
Thanks for the memories Gary.
The word legend is thrown around a bit too often these days but we don’t mince our words when we say that Gary Doherty was a bona-fide legend of Irish football.
OK, so we might be exaggerating slightly but we were still sad to learn that Doherty was forced to announce his retirement this morning having failed to recover from a serious knee injury suffered in a pre-season friendly for Wycombe Wanderers against Barnet.
34-year old Doherty – no, we can barely believe that he’s 34 either – made 34 appearances for Ireland throughout his career and he was the top scorer during the Euro 2004 qualifying campaign with three goals.
Equally adept as a central defender or a makeshift centre-forward, Doherty made 501 appearances at club level for Luton, Tottenham, Norwich, Charlton and finally, Wycombe Wanderers.
Commenting on his decision to hang up his boots, Doherty said: "It’s the hardest decision for any footballer to have to make. You always hope you’ll be able to retire in your own time when it’s right for you, but injury has forced my hand and it’s one of those things you have to deal with.
"The gaffer has put together a really strong team and I would have loved to have been a part of it for the rest of the season. I hope they can continue the fantastic run they've been on because there's a great set of lads in that dressing room.”
Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth added: "Gary is a special guy who's had a fantastic career so I'm gutted for him that he's had to retire. I know it was a tough decision but he has to do what's right for him and I know I can speak for all of the lads when I say it's been a privilege to have him in the squad."
And so say all of us. All the best in your retirement Gary.