Former Cobblers defender Zander Diamond has announced his retirement from football due to a serious back injury.
The 33-year-old, a key member of the 2015/16 Sky Bet League Two title-winning Town team, announced on the Mansfield Town website on Tuesday night that he has decided to hang up his boots.
The Scotsman made more than 450 senior appearances in his career, which started at Aberdeen, where he made his debut in 2003.
Diamond played more than 200 games for the Dons and went on to play for Oldham Athletic, Burton Albion and the Cobblers, who he left in the summer of 2017 after winning the club’s player of the year award, to sign for Mansfield.
Diamond played 23 games in his first season at Field Mill, but hasn’t played since April due to a back problem, which he now says has ended his career.
“The time has come to hang up my boots,” Diamond told mansfieldtown.net
“After 17 years in the game, injury has forced me into retirement.
“The past six to seven months have been a nightmare and the time has come to accept that I have to give up the game that I have loved every second of.
“I want to really emphasise how much my wife and my daughter have supported and helped me throughout the last few months. They have been difficult personally but they have been my rock!
“I want to thank all the clubs that I have played for, and I want to especially thank Aberdeen Football Club for giving me the opportunity at a young age to start my journey as a professional footballer.
“Also, I would like to thank Mansfield Town for their help throughout the last few months and wish them every success in the future.
“Finally I just want to thank all my family and friends who have been on this tremendous journey with me throughout my career for their love and support.” As well as playing a part in the Cobblers’ title success of 2016, Diamond also played a major role in the team avoiding relegation in 2014.
Diamond was signed by Chris Wilder on loan from Burton in February, 2014, and played 14 times as Town avoided relegation to non-League with a 3-1 win over Oxford United on the final day of the season.
The Scot then signed a three-year deal to join the club on a permanent basis, and was a key man in the team Wilder built to secure that memorable title triumph.
Diamond stayed on for one more season following Wilder’s departure, and was a regular starter under both Rob Page and Justin Edinburgh as Town avoided relegation from Sky Bet League One in 2016/17, winning the Chronicle & Echo Cobblers’ supporters player of the year award.
In all, Diamond made 118 starts for the Cobblers as well as seven substitute appearances, scoring five goals.
A statement on the Cobblers website read: “All of us at Northampton Town send our very best wishes to Zander and his family.
“We will always be grateful for the huge role he played for Northampton Town between 2014 and 2017.”