Steve Fletcher announces retirement

Fletcher announces retirement
© PA Photos
Bournemouth striker Steve Fletcher announces his decision to retire from football at the age of 40.

Bournemouth striker Steve Fletcher has announced his decision to retire from football.

The 40-year-old, who began his playing career with Hartlepool United in 1990, has scored 121 goals in 728 appearances during 18 seasons with the South Coast club.

However, after winning his third promotion with the Cherries, Fletcher believes that he will be surplus to requirements in the Championship.

"I saw Eddie Howe on Tuesday - we feel it will be difficult for me to be part of the squad next season," Fletcher told BBC Radio Solent.

"Probably getting into the Championship has backfired in respect to me being able to be around the team.

"[Howe] wasn't telling me to retire, he said he respects me too much for that, but that it would be difficult to offer you a playing contract under the circumstances."

Fletcher joined Bournemouth for a second time from Crawley Town in 2009, having played for the club previously between 1992 and 2007.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe during the match against Swindon on January 12, 2013
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