Former Valiants: class act Danny Whitaker praises Port Vale after retirement

Former Port Vale midfielder Danny Whitaker has paid tribute to Port Vale after announcing his retirement as a player.

Whitaker is rightly regarded as a Macclesfield Town legend and he paid fulsome praise to Macc while also thanking other clubs he had spells at.

Whitaker played 98 times for Vale scoring 15 goals between 2006 and 2008.

Announcing his immediate retirement, Whitaker said “I have felt truly humbled to have represented fantastic clubs such as Macclesfield Town, Port Vale, Chesterfield and Oldham Athletic.”

In an open letter on the Macclesfield Town website he said:

On a cold February evening back in 2002, I made my debut for Macclesfield Town and I could not have dreamt what was to follow.

It is no exaggeration to say that in the seventeen years that have past since then, I have felt truly humbled to have represented fantastic clubs such as Macclesfield Town, Port Vale, Chesterfield and Oldham Athletic.

They all have a special place in my heart due to the fact that their belief in me meant that I could achieve more than I ever thought possible.

Macc will always mean the world to me – not just because they gave me my first opportunity in professional football, but also because of the infectious nature of being a Silkman which I will forever remain.

Every time I pulled on that blue shirt, I did so with so much pride – I can’t really put it into words. It just meant everything.

There have been so many unforgettable moments out there on the Moss Rose pitch, it really is mind-blowing!

From my debut goal to the extra-time hat-trick against Barnsley, from our Wembley appearance to the incredible title-winning campaign that followed and everything in between, I have been so privileged to share my own journey with that of a club who will forever mean everything to me.

Throughout it all, I gave absolutely everything every single week and in many ways this was the easiest thing in the world to do – given the absolutely phenomenal support that I was so lucky to receive.

The fans took me into their hearts as one of their own and please believe me when I say that never a day went by when I was not truly grateful for it.

Every time I walked out onto the pitch, the backing of the fans pushed me forward and ultimately, played a major role in making me who I am today.

Many kids aspire to be a professional footballer, but not many actually get the opportunity to live out that experience and certainly not for as long as I have. A large part of that is a result of the belief and love that I was blessed with from the terraces.

But all good things must come to an end as they say and after some intense personal deliberation over the summer, I have decided to retire from the playing side of the game with immediate effect.

As you can imagine, this was not a decision that I have taken lightly, especially when I feel as fit as I have ever done and was one that elicited all sorts of emotions.

Funnily enough, one of the first things that I did after making the decision was dig out stories of when Paul Scholes retired and returned to old Trafford shortly after – so never say never!

Despite pulling the curtain down on the playing aspect of the game, my cherished association with Macclesfield Town will continue and I am really looking forward to giving my all in the next stage of my career.

I am proud to be remaining at the club and will continue to bring drive, passion and enthusiasm on the training ground and in the dug-out – just like I did for so many years during my playing days.

When you build up such an affiliation with a club, the people who work there and the fans, you never want to let that go. As such I will continue to serve the club I love in the manner that I always have done and hope that you will continue to support me in the next stage of my career.

Danny Whitaker