Accrington Town striker Billy Kee has retired from professional football due to personal reasons.
Accrington Stanley Striker Billy Kee Retires From Football
Battle With Mental Health
Kee, 29, has been battling with mental health issues over the last few years.
The popular Stanley striker has spoken openly about his battles with depression but did not return to pre-season last summer.
Stanley and Kee agreed to terminate the forward’s contract by mutual consent on January 13th; the fan-favourite is hoped to be at the home fixture against strugglers AFC Wimbledon on Saturday to say his goodbyes.
Kee first joined Stanley on loan from Leicester City as an 18-year-old.
He rejoined in 2015, scoring 26 goals as the Lancashire side finished the 2017-18 season as League Two champions.
Kee: The Most Important Thing Is My Health and My Family
Speaking about his retirement to the club website, Kee 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.”
He added: “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 teammates and the fans.”
Manager John Coleman said: “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 added: “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.”