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Last Updated: Friday, 3 August 2007, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Brighton's Oatway forced to quit
Charlie Oatway
Oatway served Brighton under a succession of different managers
Brighton captain Charlie Oatway has been forced to retire after picking up a second serious injury.

The midfielder, 33, has not played a competitive game since Boxing Day 2005 because of an ankle problem.

He finally returned to action this summer, but then ruptured knee cartilage in a pre-season friendly against Billericay last month.

"It is with an extremely heavy heart that I have made this decision," he told the Seagulls' website.

"It has been a nightmare over the past year and a half.

"Having come back from one major injury, I was hopeful of making a full return to action, but to suffer another just as serious left me facing a difficult decision.

"I always felt I had a few more years to offer, but I have very little choice for the sake of my future health."

Hammersmith-born Oatway began his career at non-league Yeading, before spells with Cardiff, Torquay, Brentford and Lincoln.

He joined Brighton in the summer of 1999 and made 224 league appearances for the Albion.

Seagulls boss Dean Wilkins added: "It is horrendous bad luck for Charlie and my heart goes out to him.

"He has been a tremendous servant to the club over the last eight years and all of the coaching staff and players will miss his presence."

Chairman Dick Knight said: "It is sad that after all his hard recovery work that injury has forced his retirement now.

"But the important job in our community programme I offered him some time ago will now take immediate effect.

"I'm certain that Charlie will bring the same leadership qualities to his new challenge with the Albion as he did to his playing career."

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