RITCHIE Humphreys will NOT be hanging up his boots following his release from Hartlepool United.
SportMail understands the 35-year-old fully intends to carry on playing into next season and even beyond.
And there are sure to be no shortage of suitors for a player who was among Pools’ better outfield performers last season.
The club released the news yesterday morning that their record-appearance holder was being let go after 12 years at Victoria Park.
The timing of their announcement was somewhat strange given that Humphreys is currently in the United States on a family holiday.
Indeed, he was awoken at midnight (local time) and spent the majority of the night answering phone calls and text messages.
Humphreys was thought to be shocked to learn of his release in such a manner.
His departure, however, had been expected after his name was not among the club’s second retained list which was revealed on Thursday.
Humphreys barely missed a match from November onwards and often won plaudits from former manager John Hughes.
But with the Scot sacked and assistant Micky Barron having also been shown the door, Humphreys’ exit is perhaps less of a surprise.
The Pools legend will return to the UK later this week before beginning the search for a new club.
Humphreys also boats his UEFA ‘A’ coaching licence and could well be offered a backroom role in addition to a playing contract.
That, though, will not be at the club he has served with distinction since 2001.
Signed by Chris Turner following a brief spell at Cambridge United, Humphreys went on to make 542 appearances, scoring 37 goals.
He surpassed Watty Moore’s appearance record in February, 2011 when making his 473rd outing as a late substitute at Exeter City.
That summer he enjoyed a testimonial match against Premier League Sunderland and went on to play his 500th match in January of last year.
Voted the club’s Player of the Century, Humphreys leaves Clarence Road with a multitude of well-wishes.
And with League Two his most likely destination – York City has already been mooted – he could well be back at the Vic next season.