Chairman Thomas pledges Cobblers ‘will do what we can’ to support Leon Barnett

Leon Barnett
Leon Barnett

Chairman Kelvin Thomas has pledged that the Cobblers ‘will do what we can’ to support central defender Leon Barnett, who has been forced to retire from playing football due to a heart complaint.

The 32-year-old announced on Monday that he was retiring on medical advice, and a career that spanned more than 350 senior appearances is now at an end.

The Cobblers have already announced they will be honouring Barnett’s playing contract, that was due to run out next summer, and Thomas says they will be offering the former Wigan Athletic and Norwich man all the help he requires.

“This is clearly a difficult time for Leon and his family and they are our priority here,” said Thomas.

“I am sure all supporters will join us in wishing Leon well, and while we will no longer benefit from Leon’s playing talents, we are pleased that he will remain on board with us for the rest of the season, doing some work at first team level as well as coaching with the academy.

“He has a lot of experience that we can tap into, and at the same time Leon can gain coaching experience to help with the next stage of his career.

“Sometimes there are more important things than football and as a club we will do what we can to support Leon and his family.”

There have been plenty of messages of support on social media for Barnett, with some of his former clubs wishing him well.

On Twitter, @LutonTown wrote: “The Hatters are sorry to hear the news about Leon Barnett - a Town academy graduate who has gone onto have a fantastic career in the game! We wish him and his family all the best.”

West Browmich Albion (@WBA) tweeted “Wishing you all the very best, Leon”, while Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) wrote “Best wishes to our former player @LeonBarnettFA, who unfortunately has been forced to retire from playing. You gave us some great memories when you wore the blue and white, Barney.”