Former Bristol Rovers, Southend United, Bury and Chesterfield striker retires at 39

Leon Clarke was signed by Joey Barton for Bristol Rovers in 2021. He played 11 times for the Gas, playing a role in their promotion. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Leon Clarke was signed by Joey Barton for Bristol Rovers in 2021. He played 11 times for the Gas, playing a role in their promotion. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Leon Clarke was signed by Joey Barton for Bristol Rovers in 2021. He played 11 times for the Gas, playing a role in their promotion. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
A member of Bristol Rovers 2021/22 League Two promotion winning squad is retiring from football.

Former Bristol Rovers striker Leon Clarke has announced that he is bringing his playing career to an end after 20-years of playing.

The 39-year-old will now focus on coaching after he decided to call it a day following 20-years as a footballer, mainly spent playing professionally. Clarke wound down his career playing in the non-league for Rushall Olympic, Kettering Town with Mickleover being the last club he represented.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Posting his announcement on Instagram, he had a video compilation of all of his goals with Sheffield United featuring heavily after helping them to promotion twice in 2017 and in 2019.

In a message to his followers, he said: "20 years in the game, 23 clubs. This is my official retirement its time to put the gloves away. Thank you to everyone that’s supported me throughout my career. The future for me is still in the game but this time as a coach.”

Clarke played a total of 11 times in the 2021/22 campaign for the Gas. He arrived when Joey Barton was in charge and netted on his debut against Crawley Town, but in just his second game against Hartlepool United he suffered an injury and was out for three months.

The experienced striker made a brief return in January but couldn't build up a consistent run of games as injuries hampered his time at the Memorial Stadium. Clarke did come on as a substitute in the game Rovers clinched promotion to League One, beating Clarke's former club Scunthorpe United 7-0 to overturn Northampton Town's advantage.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Across the professional game, he scored a total of 153 goals in 522 appearances, playing across the top four divisions of professional football in England. He was most prolific when playing in League One, getting 78 goals in 170 games compared to his 60 in 285 Championship matches.

The other clubs he played for was Wolves where he had two spells having begun his career at Molineux. He played a total of 114 times for Wolves, playing in the Championship and League One.

Sheffield United is where he was most popular, netting 32 goals for the Blades as he went from League One to the Premier League. He had three-and-a-half seasons at the Blades' inter-city rivals Sheffield Wednesday and got 18 goals playing for the Owls in the earlier days of his career. Other teams included Bury, Wigan Athletic, Chesterfield, QPR, Southend United and Scunthorpe United.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.