'Priceless' ending at Stevenage as Romain Vincelot hangs up the boots

Romain Vincelot of Stevenage FC

Stevenage's Romain Vincelot has been touched by the messages he has received after announcing his retirement. - Credit: DANNY LOO

A guard of honour from the Stevenage players and staff ended the 17-year career of Romain Vincelot - and he says that being able to finish on his terms has been "priceless".

The 35-year-old started his professional footballing journey in 2004 with Chamois Niortais back in his native France but in 2010 he was in the UK, after signing for Dagenham & Redbridge.

Spells at Brighton, Gillingham, Leyton Orient, Coventry City, Bradford City, Crawley Town and Shrewsbury Town followed before joining Boro last summer.

And he was touched by the outpouring of praise and the respect that he is held in.

Romain Vincelot guard of honour

Romain Vincelot is given a guard of honour from the pitch by Stevenage players and staff at the end of the game in Scunthorpe. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

He said: "The club have been really fantastic and they have given me the opportunity to stop on a fantastic note, to stop how I wanted. 

"It is not always easy in football, sometimes you have good groups, sometimes you have not-so-good groups, but this season, what we achieved from the position we were at the bottom, it’s huge and I’m very proud of that and the boys and the staff. 

"For me to end like this, it is priceless. 

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"I’ve been flattered by the comments. Starting this season after my hip injury was an unknown but I didn’t want to end on an injury. 

"We’ve worked really hard and to have the boys do that all year to try and achieve something, I’m so happy."

His final game was a 1-0 win at Scunthorpe United and he was delighted to go out with a victory.

He said: "It doesn’t matter if it is training or a match, I want to win. 

"We played a small-sided game yesterday in training and as it was my final one, I wanted to win it. 

"I’m buzzing, very happy.  

"I don’t think I’ve completely realised that this is my last game, that will come maybe later this evening, but I’m happy to share this with the boys."

And it could have been a goalscoring appearance too, with a couple of late chances being deflected away by the hosts.

"It’s funny," he said. "I felt so much pressure [when I came on]. It was like my debut again and I had jelly legs a little bit.

"I just wanted to do well and I knew the lads in the stands were waiting for a goal."

Thoughts of the future starting a while ago but as of yet there is no firm plans. He does, however, know it will involve football.

"We’ll see," he said. "I’m doing a sport science degree, I’ve got a coaching badge and I need to think a little bit but I know I want to stay in football. 

"I’ve always tried to be the best I can be every single day. When I wake up I always ask myself ‘how can I improve today, what can I do better’. 

"Now it is going to be how can I help the other players get better. 

"I will look at the opportunities but I would love to remain in the UK as this country is a big part of me and my family."