Ryan Stevenson - Why I Quit

It wasn’t the fact the 32-year-old midfielder was in full Raith Rovers goalkeeper kit at the time, although that didn’t help.

It was the culmination of more than a year of heartache, dark days and, at times, deep depression too.

For the majority of his career Stevenson had lived the dream as a full-time footballer as a kid at Chelsea and later at Hearts and Ipswich.

But at the home of his boyhood heroes Ayr United, that dream had instead become a nightmare.

Off the field Stevenson had gone through a shattering marriage split from wife Hannah.

On it, the joy of kicking a ball for a living had turned into a crushing pressure he was unable to escape.

So last week Stevenson shocked Scottish football by announcing his immediate retirement from the game.

And in his first major interview since, with the Scottish Sun, he revealed he had to so for his own sanity as much as anything else.

He told SunSport: “I was standing in goals in the second half at Somerset, and I just love Ayr as a club.

“But after about 70 minutes I stood there and thought to myself ‘I just do not want to do this any more. I do not want to be here. I have no fight in me’. And that was the biggest thing for me.

“When I went to Hearts I buzzed for every single game. I buzzed for everything, I bubbled with enthusiasm for training. I knew how lucky I was to be doing what I was doing.

“In the last year that totally went for me. And I knew at that moment.

“I know everybody enjoyed that night and said well done.

“But I was standing there thinking ‘This is rubbish. I don’t even want to be here and this is a total farce’. It was a shambles.

“Bobby Barr missed a good chance and I’d usually have been the first one to roar ‘C’mon!’. But I remember thinking if it goes in or it doesn’t, I’m not really bothered. And I stood there for the last 15 minutes thinking ‘This is going to be my last ever game. As a goalie.’ But it wasn’t as if it was a sudden decision. It had been on my mind for about a year.

Read the interview in full by clicking here