Ex-Manchester City, Burnley and Fleetwood Town defender Stephen Jordan wants to retire in style by helping Chorley FC beat Spennymoor Town to promotion in his final game on Sunday

Stephen Jordan in action for Chorley FC
Stephen Jordan in action for Chorley FC

Helping Chorley win promotion would be a fitting way for Stephen Jordan to bring the curtain down on his illustrious playing career.

The ex-Burnley and Manchester City defender - who has graced the Premier League - revealed today that he plans to retire after the Magpies' National League North play-off final showdown against Spennymoor Town on Sunday at Victory Park.

And the 37-year-old said if the Magpies can beat The Moors, it would be the icing on the cake after 20 years as a player.

The former Cambridge United, Sheffield United, Rochdale, Dunfermline and Fleetwood Town defender said the hardest part about calling time on his footballing career is leaving the camaraderie of the Chorley dressing room behind.

Jordan through the youth system at Manchester City to became a professional footballer in 1999.

After a loan spell at Cambridge he made his first team debut for City in a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Bolton in April 2003.

For the boyhood City fan featuring for them was one of the highlights of his career.

But he admits the best spell of his career came at Burnley from 2007-10.

The Clarets were promoted to the Premier League during that period and Jordan revealed he has struggled to find a dressing room as fantastic as that one until he arrived at League One side Fleetwood Town in 2013 and then latterly with Chorley.

It was a quirk of fate that led Jordan to Victory Park in the summer of 2016.

His cousin Jeff Reiseley had followed in Jordan's footsteps by attending Locking Stumps Community Primary School in his home town of Warrington.

And when Jordan was wondering what to do next after his release from Fleetwood, it was Reiseley and his dad Albert - Jordan's uncle - who passed on the details of a member of staff at the school who just so happened to be heavily involved with the Magpies - Jamie Vermiglio.

Head teacher Vermiglio was assistant to Matt Jansen at the time and with Jordan keen to juggle his studies to become a physiotherapist with semi-professional football it was the perfect fit.

The centre-half said it is his body, not his heart, which is telling him to retire as he thanked the club and fans.

But he will be back at Victory Park and he is keen to brush off back-to-back play-off defeats in his previous two seasons by helping the Magpies beat Spennymoor.

Jordan said: "Jamie was the head teacher at my old primary school.

"I ended up getting in touch with Vermo and the rest is history.

"I spoke to Jamie and Matt (Jansen) at the time.

"Chorley sounded like what I needed at the time and they were both nice guys.

"That is what persuaded me to join.

"I've loved every minute of it.

"I didn't think I'd be doing three years if I'm honest when I first arrived.

"I thought I'd do a year.

"I probably enjoyed it that much that is why I have done three years.

"I was 34 then so still a good age for playing football.

"I got another three years which was really good.

"What are my highlights?

"Playing for Manchester City as a City fan was a highlight.

"But I went from City to Burnley.

"That was arguably the best three years of my footballing life.

"Especially the year we got promoted.

"We also got to the semi-final of the Carling Cup that year.

"The Premier League season was good up until Christmas time.

"It all fell away a little bit when Owen Coyle left and it did not go as well after that.

"After Burnley I struggled a little bit, I went to Sheffield United, I went to Huddersfield, I went to Rochdale, a little spell in Scotland.

"Fleetwood was better.

"I had a good time there.

"I think it was because at Burnley I had such a good time there in that dressing room.

"I was searching for that elsewhere and it never really happened as much until Fleetwood and Chorley.

"In terms of football it is important to have that.

"I got that at Fleetwood and Chorley and to end like that is good.

"Now getting promotion in my final game would be the icing on the top of the cake."

Jordan has enjoyed lots of good times with Chorley, competing at the top end of the table as well as dome good runs in the cup.

"In the three years I've been here we have been up there," he said.

"Play-offs in the previous years, first round of the FA Cup in the last two years.

"It has been a pretty successful time which always help.

"When things are going well and you are winning it seems to help.

"People say it a lot but it is a really good dressing room,

"Probably the hardest part of it is leaving the dressing room, the playing side of it not really because I think it is time.

"I'm struggling in terms of keeping myself fit, that happens when you get older.

"It is the dressing room, the lads and the staff that I will really miss.

"My body is telling me to give up!

"It has been good, over the last few years at Chorley I've probably enjoyed it as much as I've loved it at Burnley.

"It has been that good.

"Football is a funny game where you make friends but as soon as you leave you rarely see them again.

"But I think there are people at Chorley I will be friends with for life.

I will have nothing to do on Saturday so I will get to some games.

"Both my daughters like to watch football so we will all go along."

Jordan said family reasons were behind his decision to take up a second career as a physiotherapist with the NHS rather than staying in football.

He started his studies during his time at Fleetwood and completed them during his three year stint at Victory Park.

His career in the NHS allows him to spend more time with wife Katy and their two young daughters Heidi and Leni.

Speaking about his new career he said: "It started when I turned 30.

"Just before I signed for Fleetwood I thought.

"If football was to finish now, what would I do?

"I was always interested in physiotherapy when I was a YTS.

"I got in touch with the PFA, asked about the physio and it stemmed from there.

"I managed to get on the course that is run by the PFA at Salford University and the rest is history I suppose.

"Through the four years of the course all I wanted to do was be a football physio.

"All the way through, I did not even think about the NHS.

"Then coming towards the end, I'm married with two young kids, the NHS seemed a better proposition in terms of hours that you work.

"The hours if you are starting out as an academy physio, the hours they have to work is a bit of a joke.

"After football I was hoping to see my family more.

"With the NHS it is more structured hours.

"I end up seeing the family more.

"I have enjoyed going into the NHS... it is not as good as playing football!

"But it is the next step of my life."

What has it been like going back into the 'real world?'

"I found it really difficult to start off with if I'm honest," he said.

"I remember going through my career and seeing people reach retirement saying 'make sure you enjoy it - your football career is short.

"You just dismiss it because you think that is how life is.

"Football is a bubble and it is the best days of your life.

"You are doing a hobby for a job and getting paid well for it.

"Don't get me wrong, it is still hard.

"Pressure in football is still pressure.

"Ultimately you do something you love every day as a job.

"When I went into full-time 'real life' I did struggle.

"I struggled for six to twelve months with it.

"It is different getting home at 6 pm in the evening, seeing the kids for an hour before they go to bed.

"In the past I was home for 2pm and had all afternoon with the kids so it was hard to adjust.

"I'm starting to get used to it now but nothing is as good as football."