Billy Kee has retired from full-time professional football due to personal reasons and everyone at Accrington Stanley wishes Billy all the best going forward.
The 29-year-old has had a long battle with mental health issues which he has talked openly about and didn’t return to pre-season last summer.
The club and Billy agreed to terminate his contract by mutual consent on January 13th this year but he is hoping to be at the home game against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday to say his goodbyes properly.
Striker Billy was a fans’ favourite, first coming on loan to the club from Leicester City when he was 18 and rejoining in 2015, scoring 26 goals in 2017/18 as the Reds finished as League Two champions.
Talking of his retirement from the professional game and leaving Stanley, Billy said: “Everyone knows my ongoing issues with depression and anxiety and in the summer I made it known about my bulimia which has affected me since I was at Leicester.
“The most important thing is my health and my family, my wife Leigh and two sons and, now I have made the decision, I feel in a better place.
“Accrington will always have a place in my heart and I can never thank owner Andy Holt, manager John Coleman and assistant manager Jimmy Bell enough for everything they have done for me.
“The best moment of my football career was scoring the winner at Luton in the League Two championship season and winning the league. That was so special, to celebrate with the owner, the management, my team mates and the fans.”
Manager John Coleman said: “We want to thank Billy for everything he has done, his health is paramount and we want him to get well.
“I class Billy as a good friend and he is the closest person to family as a player. I am glad he will get his chance to say his farewell for all the efforts he has put in and all the special moments he has given the fans.”
Owner Andy Holt said: “In my time here Billy has been one, if not the, best player. His golden goals got us over the line in the League Two championship winning season and I was on the phone to him every day during that time.
“We were aware of the problems Billy had from the end of last season and the last six-eight months we have been trying to find a solution, we knew Billy’s heart was not in it at this level and he needs to find time and space and a new future for him.
“We are good mates and I am looking forward to having a pint with him on Saturday and wishing him all the best in the future. He is welcome here anytime.”