Fleming: I was ready to hang up my boots
King's Lynn's new recruit Craig Fleming revealed the Linnets had managed to coax him out of early retirement. The ex-Norwich City defender was set to call time on his illustrious playing career after leaving Coca Cola League Two Rotherham in the summer.
King's Lynn's new recruit Craig Fleming revealed the Linnets had managed to coax him out of early retirement.
The ex-Norwich City defender was set to call time on his illustrious playing career after leaving Coca Cola League Two Rotherham in the summer.
Fleming is now poised for his Southern League, Premier Division bow at home to Gloucester after signing a one-year deal.
“I was ready to hang up the boots and quit the game,” he said. “It was really difficult for me with all the travelling at Rotherham and leaving the family behind. At one point the family might've moved up, but it didn't happen and I wanted to come back to this area. There wasn't any other professional clubs around here but I spoke to Keith Webb and he asked me to have a think about it.
“The chairman told me how ambitious the club was as well. It's not about money for me or a career move. I'm coming here to play and enjoy it. I've got a few other projects that I want to try and get off the ground as well and playing for Lynn fits in with that nicely.”
Fleming made 382 appearances in a ten-year Carrow Road stint - helping Norwich clinch the Championship title in 2004.
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The 35-year-old insists Lynn can gatecrash the Conference scene after spending a week training with the club prior to his Walks switch.
“Definitely,” he said. “I've been very impressed by the standard. For me, it's on a par with Rotherham. I knew a little bit about Lynn from playing them once or twice in the past with Norwich and they always gave us a decent game.
“With Rotherham we played clubs at Lynn's level in non league and it's a good standard. I've spent most of my career in the Championship or the Premiership but I don't think the difference is that big. The grounds and the surroundings you play in might be, but that's part and parcel of football.”
Fleming has not ruled out extending his initial stay before the end of this season.
“The aim is to get the club promoted,” he said. “I'll sit down with Keith and the chairman in the summer and see where we go and if I'm still enjoying it. At the moment I'm going over as a player - I've not thought about the coaching side. I've done about three quarters of my badges though and I'll keep my options open. I just want to stay in the area and enjoy my football.
“To be honest, I haven't played a competitive game since the last day of last season in May with Rotherham, but I really want to get involved. I'm not worried about what other clubs in the league will make of it. I'm just here to play.”