Former Doncaster Rovers favourite Matty Blair forced to retire through injury

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Former Doncaster Rovers favourite Matty Blair has been forced to retire from football due to a knee injury.

The versatile midfielder, 33, joined Rovers in 2016 and was a key part of the side that won promotion from League Two under Darren Ferguson in the 2016/17 season.

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He made 162 appearances for the club over four years before his departure in 2020 to join current club Cheltenham Town, whom he helped win promotion to League One and then record their highest finish of 15th in the third tier.

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Matty Blair pictured in action for Doncaster Rovers. Photo: Marie Caley.Matty Blair pictured in action for Doncaster Rovers. Photo: Marie Caley.
Matty Blair pictured in action for Doncaster Rovers. Photo: Marie Caley.

"I’ve made this decision due to a lack of options really,” said Blair, who scored 10 goals for Doncaster.

"The options available to me would have either meant less time being spent with my family, due to not being able to walk for a couple days after games, or have an operation which would effectively have a two-year recovery period."

During his time at Rovers Blair was also named the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) – the union for all current and former footballers and scholars in the Premier League, the FA Women’s Super League and the English Football Leagues – Player in the Community for two years running in recognition of his commitment to community work.

Those voluntary efforts also saw him recognised by the PFA as their 2018/19 Community Champion.

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He also suffered a personal tragedy while playing for the club when he lost his brother Ross to cancer in July 2017.

Ex-Fleetwood and Mansfield man Blair picked up his career-ending injury last term.

Reflecting on his career, he said: "I’m very lucky to have been a part of some special groups in my time. It’s a career I’ve given everything for.

"I never would’ve dreamt for one second of doing some of the things I have in the lower leagues. There will always be people who’ll say, ‘well you never played in the Championship,’ but you’re talking to someone who never thought they’d even become a professional footballer.

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"I just did it for the enjoyment side of it, but through the training, performances on a matchday and the amount of games I’ve played, replicates the person I am. I gave everything to everybody, and I’ve received a lot of very positive feedback throughout my career that I’ll be truly grateful for."