James Curtis Announces His Retirement

Moors legend James Curtis has confirmed his intention to retire from playing at the end of the season after amassing almost 1,000 games in non-league football.

The dependable centre-back arrived at The Brewery Field in 2016 and has gone on to make 274 appearances for the Club over the past eight years, many of them as captain.

Having begun his career with Kennek Ryhope, Curtis moved on to Washington, but it was a switch to Gateshead in 2003 which really ignited the defender’s career.

Curtis quickly became a favourite at The International Stadium, and he played 596 times during an astonishing 13-year spell which saw him become The Tynesiders’ record appearance-maker.

His consistency at the back was one of the key features as Gateshead clinched back-to-back promotions to secure a place in non-league’s top division in 2009.

Indeed, Curtis and The Heed Army came mightily close to even further glory in 2014 as they narrowly missed out on promotion to the Football League with defeat to Cambridge United in the Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Curtis’ long and impeccable service earned him a testimonial as Gateshead saw off a young Newcastle United side in a showpiece fixture at the beginning of the following season.

Jason Ainsley managed to persuade Curtis his future lay at The Brewery Field upon his release from Gateshead in 2016 and the centre-back went on to enjoy cult status with Moors fans.

Curtis produced some sensational displays during his debut season as the Club celebrated promotion to National League North for the first time in 2016/17.

Famed for his bubbly nature off the pitch as much as combative performances on it, the defender was a core part of the promotion, earning both the Manager’s and the Players’ Player of the Year award for the campaign.

He continued to prove a key player as Moors adjusted to life at the higher level and his consistent showings in defence were complemented by a memorable headed goal against promotion-chasing Harrogate Town.

Moors thrived in National League North and could even have clinched a place in the top flight of non-league football in 2018/19 as Curtis and his teammates made it to the Play-Off Final only to suffer an agonising penalty shootout defeat at Chorley in front of over 1,000 travelling fans.

Curtis signed a new contract with the Club last summer but has made only 10 appearances in all competitions during 2023/24 and recently took a decision to step back from playing ahead of formally retiring.

“This decision has probably been in my mind over the last couple of years really, and it just feels like the right time,” explained Curtis.

“I still feel as though I could play at this level – but I can’t play every game. I always said to myself that once I reached that stage, I would probably take a step back and let other people have their chance to take their journey.

“Physically recovering from training is tough – my back hurts, even my head hurts when I head a ball now. It’s just the right time for me.

“I am not sad; I am quite happy given what I have achieved over the years with various teams and with the number of games I have played.

“I have loved every minute, and I couldn’t have asked for a better Club to finish off at. I don’t think I would have played on for so long anywhere else but the people I have met here have just been really special and they have helped me prolong my career.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone at the Club – the people who work there now, the people who have worked there over the years, the players, the staff and the fans. Everyone has always been amazing with me, and I have always tried to give everything in return.

“Saturday could be the perfect way for me to sign-off if the lads are able to do the business and squeeze into the play-offs so hopefully as many fans as possible can come and give us their support.”

Spennymoor Town skipper James Curtis
Spennymoor Town skipper James Curtis

Share this post