Macclesfield Town’s veteran midfielder Danny Whitaker has announced his retirement.
In an emotional open letter posted on the club’s official website, the thirty-eight-year-old said he was ‘truly humbled to have represented fantastic clubs such as Macclesfield Town, Port Vale, Chesterfield and Oldham Athletic.’ He added that he would ‘forever remain’ a Silkman due to the tremendous support he had received there during his two long spells with the club.
Known affectionally by some as the ‘Wilmslow Pele,’ Whitaker began his long career at Moss Rose in 2002 having come through the youth ranks and went on to make two hundred and one appearances in his first spell before moving onto Port Vale, Oldham and Chesterfield where he was part of the side that won the League Two Title in 2011 and EFL Trophy in 2012.
He returned to Cheshire in 2013 going onto make a further two hundred and forty outings for the Silkmen and helping them back to the EFL, winning the National League title in 2017.
Instantly recognisable to any lower league supporter, Whitaker will always be remembered as a Macclesfield player and in summing up his time at the club he said: ‘The fans took me into their hearts as one of their own and please believe me when I say that never a day went by when I was not truly grateful for it.’
‘Every time I walked out onto the pitch, the backing of the fans pushed me forward and ultimately, played a major role in making me who I am today.’
Whitaker confirmed he would be staying at the club in a coaching capacity, so his long association with the Silkmen will continue.
Tributes and accolades greeted the announcement from players past and present as well as supporters of all the clubs Whitaker played for in his long and distinguished career.
Here is a selection of responses to the open letter on Twitter, and from everyone at the realefl.co.uk all the best for the future Danny and congratulations on a fantastic career.
Happy retirement don’t know you personally but played against you a few times and what a quality player you were Goodluck in the future all the best
— Samuel wedgbury (@wedgbury_samuel) July 9, 2019
Congrats Danny on a great career with the #silkmen ???
— Shay Given (@No1shaygiven) July 9, 2019
Not enough words to describe what a credit this guy is to the clubs he has served, his family and football in general.
Was an honour and a pleasure to play in the same team as him.
Congratulations on an amazing career Whitts ??⚽️
— Shwan Jalal (@JalalGK) July 9, 2019
What a hero this man is, a lot of players will be blessed to work with him and use his knowledge. Certainly one of the best I've ever played with
— Courtney J Richards (@9Richards) July 10, 2019
What a man. Class act on and off the pitch.
— scott taylor (@013Tay) July 9, 2019
LEGEND !!! @thesilkmen won't be the same without you. I remember you scoring the winner against Darlington the first time I went to Moss Rose in 2003 and you've been my favourite player ever since. #23 #DannyWhitIsMagic
— Jonathan Hart (@JonnyHart93) July 9, 2019
Class act for us when we won league 2. Enjoy your retirement Danny!
— Dillon (@SpireiteDillon) July 9, 2019
As a Vale fan, I wish Danny all the best. I remember watching highlights of Macc and wishing we’d sign Jon Parkin or Danny Whittaker, and thankfully we got Danny! He left us far too soon and we haven’t had midfielder capable of scoring 10 goals a season since! All the best mate!
— Matthew Jackson (@Mattjackson_88) July 9, 2019
Best wishes in the next step of your career. From an appreciative #oafc fan.
— Jeni Snoddy (@JenisNoddy) July 9, 2019
Congratulations!! @dan_whits10 on a fantastic career and for the spireite memories a true professional in every way. Wishing you all the very best in the next chapter of your footballing journey ????
— Gina Garratt (@GinaSpireite) July 9, 2019
This lad gave his all for vale every game can’t comment on other clubs#class
— gary morris (@garymor45001815) July 9, 2019
Danny you’re a credit to your profession always a wholehearted player good luck qin your future profession. Always welcome to come see us Oldham fans
— Mark (@BloolagoonaMark) July 9, 2019
— Andy Bruce (@BruceReuters) July 9, 2019
What a privilege it has been to play alongside this man for the past 4 seasons ?? such a great professional, but more importantly an even greater man. True legend (even if his banter is terrible)!! ?⚽️ @thesilkmen #23 #MagicMan https://t.co/grd3je1gLz
— David Fitzpatrick (@didley7) July 9, 2019