Luton Town goalkeeper Craig King is stepping away from professional football as a result of depression. The 20-year-old played four senior games for the Hatters after coming through then club’s apprenticeship programme.
He has thanked everyone associated with the League Two club, for their support, singling out physio Simon Parsell and club doctor Paul Deeley, and now hopes to play and “enjoy football at a lower level”.
In a club statement, Luton said that they “fully respect and understand his decision” and that they would continue to offer support.
“All at the club would like to wish Craig every success in both his football career and life away from the professional game, and look forward to seeing him back at Kenilworth Road where he’ll always be a welcome guest,” the statement continued.
“After a memorable nine seasons I have decided to leave Luton Town.
“This has been the hardest decision I have ever had to make, but after many sleepless nights I have come to this conclusion.
“For the last couple of years I have been suffering from quite severe depression.
“The season just gone has been particularly hard for me and now I feel it’s time for me to concentrate on being happy once again.
“Growing up and slowly starting to despise the game I loved and adored as a boy is heart-breaking, and something I want and need to change.
“The only way I see this becoming a possibility is taking myself away from the professional game and starting to enjoy football at a lower level. The club have been aware of my situation and have been amazing at trying everything in their power to try to resolve the issue.
“Club physio Simon Parsell and club doctor Paul Deeley have been unreal support for me and helped me through the season. Now I am at the stage where I know I can’t improve my current mental state whilst being at the club.
“I would like to thank every single member of Luton Town for everything they have done for me over the years. The fans who when I’ve played have supported me, and every single person who associates themselves with the football club.
“Although my career as a player at the club has come to an end, I will always love and support the Hatters and will be forever grateful for the opportunity and memories they have given me over the past nine years.
“I’m excited to see the boys win promotion next season and continue the climb up the leagues!”