Newcastle Jets captain and marquee Michael Bridges has been forced to end his football career due to a chronic knee injury. The 32 year old English striker has had a career undermined by injury, once one of the English Premier League’s brightest prospects.
Bridges told his team this afternoon, making reference to a future career with the Newcastle Jets and Tinkler Sports Group:
“After great consideration it was a difficult to decision to make. However the opportunity to enter the next phase of my life is one that is too exciting not to take now whilst it is being offered.”
The Englishman will continue with the Newcastle Jets after accepting a position with the club as International Football & Business Development Manager.
“The opportunity to help develop the next group of Footballers for the Jets and to join the Tinkler Sports Group is really appealing,” said the former marquee.
Michael Bridges career
Bridges emerged as a young striker with Sunderland in the 1996-97 season, experiencing relegation and promotion with the Black Cats. Leeds United came calling in 1999, signing the striker for £5 million as they unleashed massive spending for Premiership and European glory.
Bridges scored 19 goals for Elland Road in his first season, taking Leeds to third place and qualification for the Champions League.
Then came the injuries. In a tie against Besiktas, he was seriously injured in a Champions League tie, and failed to score in Bridges’ career came to a grinding halt and he never scored again for Leeds over four miserable season.
He was shopped to Newcastle and Bolton, back to his former team Sunderland, as well as Bristol City, with Bridges unable to stay fit for any length of time.
Finally, by the 2005/06 season, Bridges helped Carlisle United gain promotion from League Two, scoring 15 goals. Hull signed Bridges for 350,00 pounds, but he was unable to find a place in the first team.
Bridges took a short spell in the A-League for Sydney FC in 2007 to get game time, a spell that lasted nine games with two goals for the Sky Blues. However, again, despite much promise, that stretch was cruelled by a virus infection and he struggled to find game time under John Kosmina.
On return to England, Bridges found himself without regular game time for Carlisle United, and moved clubs to Milton Keynes Dons but played for just three weeks.
This is where Bridges decided to return to Australia to trial for the Newcastle Jets in 2009. Initially trialling with the club to earn a contract, Bridges signed with the club on the 30th September to play for the remainder of the 2009/10 season for the Jets, immediately impressing.
The striker signed for two additional years on the 2nd of December 2009, and was installed as captain on July 22nd, 2010, the first international captain for the club.