Games record holder calls time

A-League Men's Rd 15 - Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
Victory great Leigh Broxham has announced his retirement. Picture: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou was among those to congratulate A-League stalwart Leigh Broxham on a decorated career that will end next month with more than 450 competitive appearances for Melbourne Victory to his credit.
The Victory announced on Tuesday that 36-year-old Broxham would retire at the end of the season after 18 years of service at the club.

Broxham will leave the game with the record for most A-League appearances, with a current total of 384.

In all competitions, the former Victory captain has appeared in 459 games for the Melbourne club.

However, having made just three A-League appearances this season – all off the bench – Broxham said it was time to end his playing career.

“The way the season has gone for me this year personally, it felt the right moment (to retire) … physically, mentally and how I can contribute to the club and giving opportunities to others as well.

“I’ve had moments and experiences in the game that will stay with me forever and I have made lifelong friends that only football can create and I will be forever grateful for that.

“This club has been a part of more than half of my life and I’d like to thank everyone, from the players, coaches and staff who have been a part of my journey over my career.

“Most importantly, I want to thank my family, my wife Sam and kids Sonny, Billie and Mila for being there every day for me.

“During the good days and the bad, the highs and the lows, my family has always supported me and I cannot wait to be there for them in our next chapter as a family.”

With the Victory, Broxham has won four A-League championships and three premierships as well as two Australia Cups.

The versatile veteran has also made one Socceroos appearance, which came in 2008 against Singapore.

Former Victory coaches Postecoglou, Kevin Muscat and Ernie Merrick all sent Broxham congratulatory video messages.

“You’re a true Melbourne Victory legend, and a credit to yourself your family and all your loved ones,” Postecoglou said.

“Enjoy retirement and look back fondly on 18 years of great service.”

Muscat, now coaching Chinese Super League club Shanghai Port, told Broxham he could look back on his career with “great pride”.

“The integrity that you’ve showed throughout that period of time defines you most,” Muscat said.

“Hopefully the next couple of games you can enjoy and then sail away into the sunset and reflect on what’s been a wonderful achievement.”

Merrick, now Football Australia’s chief football officer, hailed Broxham’s “tremendous career”.

“Good luck in your retirement. Hopefully you’ll stay involved in the game,” Merrick said.

Victory chairman John Dovaston thanked Broxham for his “enormous contribution” to the club.

“Leigh will always be a part of the Victory family, and we look forward to supporting him and his family as they embark on their next chapter.” Dovaston said.

Victory director of football John Didulica described Broxham as “one of the great success stories of the A-League”.

“It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a player enjoy such longevity and such success with one club, possibly anywhere in the world, and we should pause for a moment and celebrate it,” Didulica said.

“It’s a testament to Leigh’s qualities as a footballer coupled with his relentlessness which will see him step away from the field as the league’s all time game’s record holder, multiple championship winner and capped Socceroo.”

Victory managing director Caroline Carnegie said Broxham would “forever be a part of the fabric” of the club.

“We are all grateful for what Leigh has contributed to Melbourne Victory and the A-League in his 18 consecutive seasons as a player, and what will be many more as a club legend, of course with Sam and the kids by his side,” Carnegie said.

“Leigh’s loyalty, professionalism and desire to win is all we ask from anyone who pulls on a Victory shirt.”