Joey Barton has confirmed that his playing days are over after being formally appointed as Fleetwood Town's new manager.
The 35-year-old has spent the past 14 months serving a Football Association ban for breaching betting rules, which was due to expire this summer.
Rather than resuming his career on the field, though, with a number of English Football League clubs reportedly interested in his services, Barton has opted to take up his first managerial position with Fleetwood.
Speaking at his unveiling on Monday, the ex-Burnley, Manchester City, Rangers and Queens Park Rangers midfielder admitted that he would have liked the circumstances of his retirement to have been different.
"If I am serious about being the best possible version of myself in a coaching space, I think I have to put Joey Barton the player to bed," he told the assembled press. "So the take-out for you is probably 'the death of Joey Barton' as a player - some people will argue that is a very good thing! That obviously opens up Joey Barton the coach, so you close one chapter...
"I love playing, it is something I dreamt about doing from as long as I was consciously aware. I was fortunate enough to achieve everything I dreamt of doing - playing for England and playing in the Premier League for some phenomenal football clubs. I probably would have liked to have gone out under my own steam as opposed to getting an FA ban to put the final nail in the coffin - but the world works in mysterious ways.
"Some people will have questioned this appointment because I am somebody who is coming out of a 13-month ban from the FA. The club and Andy [Pilley] the owner have given me this opportunity and I intend to pay that back a hundred fold over the next three years. I suppose we can contact some bookmakers to give us a price for me coming out of a betting ban and into a managerial position!
"It's one of the weird idiosyncrasies on the roller-coaster journey that's certainly my life and professional life. It's something I've always wanted to do and I'm thankful for the opportunity. It's a fantastic football club, obviously on an upward trajectory, and a great place for me to start a coaching journey."