'It has been an unforgettable journey' - Former City defender retires and joins League Two club
PUBLISHED: 20:03 17 January 2020 | UPDATED: 20:15 17 January 2020
©Archant Photographic 2010
Former Norwich City defender Michael Nelson has brought an end to his playing days, to take up the role of assistant manager with a League Two club.
Nelson turns 40 in March and had been a player-coach with National League North side Gateshead this season, scoring once in 14 games and featuring as an unused substitute during a 1-0 loss at King's Lynn Town in November.
Previously the strapping centre-back had joined Norwich on a free in the summer of 2009, making 31 appearances and scoring three goals during the League One title winning season - including scoring the winner at Charlton which earned promotion and during the 2-0 home win over Gillingham which ensured Paul Lambert's team would be champions.
Posting on Instagram, Nelson wrote: "Well the time has come to hang up the boots. As I type this I have a mixture of emotions running through me. Sadness that it is over but immense pride at what I achieved and also excitement for what is to come.
"From starting my playing career back in 1996 down at Portsmouth it has been an unforgettable journey, that has taken me to many fantastic clubs, managing to churn out over 730 appearances.
"Bury, Hartlepool United, Norwich City, Scunthorpe United, Kilmarnock, Bradford City, Hibernian, Cambridge United, Barnet, Chesterfield and finally Gateshead. A big thank you to all the managers and coaching staff that have helped me over the years and also all the off-field staff as well.
"A massive thank you to all you fans (whether you liked me or not) and a huge thank you to all my team-mates throughout the years. There has been some lifelong friendships formed over my career.
"Lastly the biggest thank you of all to the person who made it all possible and has been there by my side from those early days at Portsmouth, my wife Dawn.
"None of this would of been possible without the backing and support from you. Raising our two boys while I was travelling the length and breadth of the UK to live my dreams. I love you loads.
"Thank you all once again. On to the next one!"
Nelson was sold to Scunthorpe for an undisclosed fee during January 2011, after making another eight appearances following Championship promotion, taking his total for the Canaries to five goals and 42 matches.
He now joins Stevenage as assistant manager, who sit bottom of League Two and five points adrift of safety, with Graham Westley recently taking over from former England women's manager Mark Sampson in December.
Nelson was player-coach under Westley at Barnet previously, with Gateshead chairman Neil Pinkerton telling his club's website: "We received an approach from Stevenage yesterday (Thursday) evening regarding Michael's services, and we were aware of his pre-existing relationship with their manager Graham Westley.
"Michael is currently working towards his UEFA A licence, of which we have been very supportive of in terms of time away from the club, and we weren't going to stand in the way of him trying to further his managerial aspirations - but only if it wasn't to the detriment of Gateshead Football Club.
"The club would like to thank Michael for his efforts both on and off the pitch for Gateshead Football Club this season, and wish him the very best in his future endeavours."