Blackpool's Stephen McPhee ends career on high note
McPhee had been with Blackpool since 2008
Stephen McPhee says watching his Blackpool team-mates win promotion was his proudest moment - even though it coincided with his retirement.
The 28-year-old Scottish striker admitted defeat in his battle to return from a knee injury just four days after their promotion play-off victory.
"That's why I was so emotional at Wembley," he said.
"The lads actually winning at Wembley - even though I played no actual part in it - is the highlight of my career."
McPhee suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during a reserve game against Manchester City last April and has struggled for fitness since.
I had appointments with surgeons and specialists and had second and third opinions
He tried to make a comeback for the reserves earlier this year but has now conceded defeat after making 24 appearances for the unfashionable club who will be playing in England's top flight under Ian Holloway next season.
"I knew it would be my last time with the lads as a player and I was just so delighted that they achieved what they did because I know how much they deserve it," he said.
McPhee began his career with Coventry City but left in 2001, following a loan spell with St Mirren, to join Port Vale after failing to make a single first-team appearance.
He moved to Beira-Mar and, after their relegation from Portugal's top flight, switched to Hull City in 2005 before heading to Blackpool in 2008.
"The gaffer has been brilliant with me since he came here," said McPhee. "Some managers don't really care about you when you're injured, but he's kept me involved in everything.
"I had appointments with surgeons and specialists and had second and third opinions, but eventually you realise there is one real course of action to take.
Crainey and Adam helped Blackpool to play-off glory on Saturday
"Because of the surgery I've had, there is no longer anything in my knee to act as a shock absorber, so it is basically bone on bone.
"That was leading to a bone defect and, if I'd have carried on playing, especially at this high level, where the training and matches are tough, I would have had severe problems in the long term. Retirement was the only sensible option.
"I hadn't only suffered a cruciate injury but something called a bucket handle tear in my knee as well."
Retiring means that McPhee will not get the chance to be part of the Scottish contingent playing for Blackpool in the Premier League.
Charlie Adam scored one of Blackpool's goals in Saturday's 3-2 Championship final win over Cardiff City and achieving promotion could help the Seasiders hold on to the former Rangers midfielder, who has attracted interest from top-flight clubs.
Fellow Scotland international Stephen Crainey, the former Celtic left-back who also impressed at Wembley, was one of several players who triggered contract extensions during the campaign after completing a specific number of games.
Midfielder Stephen Husband has made just three appearances for Blackpool since making a £25,000 switch from Hearts in the January transfer window, but the 19-year-old who spent the first half of season on loan to Livingston in Division Three remains under contract.
However, Stephen Dobbie, who made a substitute appearance at Wembley, has returned to Swansea City at the end of a loan spell during which he helped Blackpool pip his parent club to a place in the play-offs.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.