Matlock Town can now announce that goalkeeper Phil Barnes has retired at the age of 38.

Barnes, a fans favourite, was named as both fans and players’ player of the season last term after signing from local rivals Buxton in the summer of 2016 and leaves a big void for the Gladiators’ management duo to fill.

The former Sheffield United stopper will be fondly remembered by Matlock fans for a string of fantastic saves during a season when Matlock had excellent FA Cup and FA Trophy runs, challenged for the end of season play-offs and won the Derbyshire Senior Cup.

“It happened really quickly so we didn’t want to shout it from the rooftops,” said Kirkwood. “Phil’s had to call it a day, physically it’s been getting a harder challenge for him at 38. “He’s also been asked to do more hours at work, he’s got increased family commitments with a lad at an age when he wants to play and family must come first. “He’s been unbelievable both on and off the pitch, he’s been brilliant for us and will take some replacing. He’s a fans favourite, so popular with the lads, we’ll really have our work cut out to find a suitable replacement.”

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