AN emotional Lee Bailey was close to tears after confirming his retirement, after a spate of niggling injuries finally took their toll on his body.

The Crossflatts Village fans' favourite, affectionately known as “The White Feather” said: “It would appear that old Father Time has caught up with me and my body just can’t take it anymore.

"I have been in excruciating pain for the last few years, but I got out of bed this morning, on my 40th birthday of all days, to walk my dogs and my troublesome back completely froze and I couldn't move.

"I had to shout for my wife Stephanie to help me get up. This is the final straw. I am calling time on my playing career.”

Bailey, who is known as the 'White Feather' because his appearance is similar to former Juventus forward Fabrizio Ravanelli, started his glittering career at Crossflatts FC in the late 1990s.

Over a decade later, he was one of the founding members of Crossflatts Village FC which was formed in 2003.

Under Bailey’s excellent management, the club made massive strides in the Wharfedale Triangle League.

Along the way, the club won the Wharfedale Triangle Invitation Cup in 2008-2009, and the Keighley FA Sunday District Cup in 2001-2012. Bailey picked up numerous personal accolades during that period, including several player of the year awards and goal of the season awards.

Bailey stepped down as player-manager after the 2013-2014 season to focus on his family life.

Crossflatts Village sat out the 2014-2015 season but they reformed the season after and Bailey has been used as a player sparingly since due to his injuries and a lack of form and fitness.

He recovered from a serious back injury towards the end of 2017 and had to undergo several operations at the Yorkshire Clinic.

The operations seemed to give the midfield maestro’s career a second wind and he put in a host of trademark match-winning performances at the end of the 2017/2018 season.

Bailey had a good start to the 2018-2019 season but his season was cut short after suffering from extreme sunburn, dehydration and exhaustion while on holiday in the West Indies back in January.

Bailey can now focus his energies on captaining Crossflatts Cricket Club II, who currently compete in Division Two of the Mewies Solicitors Craven and District League, after securing promotion from Division Three last season.

He added: “It’s been a tough start to the cricket season but we are improving all the time and we are hopeful of competing at the higher echelons of the table by the end of the campaign.”

Bailey is thought to be considering a move into politics and he is pondering a move to stand at the next local elections.

Politics is a subject that is close to his heart and the 40-year-old has the required personality and traits of someone who would make an excellent Member of Parliament.

The midfield general’s announcement comes hours before Crossflatts Village FC were about to announce their eight-man squad for the Tom Storton Memorial six-a-side tournament that is taking place at Silsden on June 30.

Bailey added: “The last thing I wanted to do was to be selected and not be at full fitness.

"I'm not going to lie, I am going to miss the game. It has been a massive part of my life and I don’t know what I am going to do with myself.”

Crossflatts Village player-manager Kevin Gill said: “It’s come as a bit of a shock but it opens the door for one of our younger players to stake a claim for his place.

"I knew Lee had been struggling with the odd niggle but I didn’t realise how bad he was feeling.

"He has been the club’s talisman for a lot of years and we owe him a lot. He will be missed."