Clark concentrates on coaching
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Lee Clark has become a Newcastle coach, signalling an end to his playing days.
Lee Clark's playing days are all but over, as he has moved up to join the Newcastle United coaching staff.
The 33-year-old midfielder turned down offers to prolong his playing career, to work with manager Glenn Roeder for the coming season.
While the die-hard Magpie has kept up his registration to play for the club, he insists that it will only be for emergencies.
"I know we said that last season when I came back to the club, but this time I think the whole squad will have to be injured for me to get a game," he quipped.
"I must admit I had to have a couple of days to think about the offer - not for the job I'll be doing, but because of the fact that I have to be realistic and admit that it just about signals the end of my playing days.
"I knew there were other clubs interested in taking me and giving me the chance to prolong my playing career, but at the end of the day it was too good a chance for me to turn down.
"I am aware that a lot of players hang up their boots and have to go back down the leagues to get the chance to start their coaching career, so for me to get the opportunity to do this at a club of Newcastle's size - the biggest there is in my view - is fantastic.
"I've always said this is my club and I'm looking at it as one chapter closing, and another one opening for me."
Clark joins Harry Redknapp's ambitious former Portsmouth and Southampton assistant Kevin Bond in the backroom staff at St James' Park.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old forward Michael Chopra looks set to turn down a new one-year deal, in favour of regular first team football at Cardiff City.