Nix's Taylor in shock A-League retirement

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Wellington Phoenix captain Steven Taylor has called time on his career, unwilling to spend another A-League season playing home games on the road.

Taylor, 35, spent most of his career as a defender with English giants Newcastle United before his move to the Kiwi club in 2018.

After begging club management for a new deal at the end of last season, he performed the U-turn after just one pre-season match.

"I told the boys, 'listen, this is the decision I've made' ... it was hard. I'm not going to lie," Taylor told news outlet Stuff.

The COVID-affected season is to blame.

Wellington were forced to spend all of last season, except for two matches, playing in Wollongong - without their families, friends and home support.

"If we were based in Wellington, 100 per cent it would be a no-brainer [to stay]. That's why I signed here," he said.

"My teammates understand that. They know how much I love playing in front of the Yellow Fever.

"Playing at Sky Stadium, that's why I'm a professional footballer, for that atmosphere. It's disappointing that I can't do that."

The decision is a hammer blow for Wellington, who have been hit hard by COVID-19 border restrictions for three straight campaigns.

The club finished third in the 2019-20 season, crashing out of the finals after shedding players from a five-month delay.

When the Nix headed home for their sole match in Wellington last season, they attracted a record 24,105-strong home crowd.

The Nix will begin this season with six straight away matches, with only a small prospect of returning home after that.

Coach Ufuk Talay's side have already lost Johnny Warren Medal winner Ulises Davila to Macarthur, and are struggling to make senior signings because of the border rules.

A lion-hearted defender, Taylor helped Newcastle back into the Premier League by winning the second-tier Championship in 2010.

Since 2016, Taylor has played in the USA, England's lower tiers, India and the A-League.

"I lived the dream. I enjoyed it. I'm leaving on a high," he said.

"I know I can go away with a good feeling and I hope the Phoenix understand that I gave everything on the pitch. I would get hit in the face, and I loved that."

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