CINDERFORD Town midfielder Steve Cowe announced his retirement from football after Saturday's 3-2 defeat of Bracknell.
Cowe, 33 (pictured), was first spotted by Aston Villa scouts as a 14-year-old while playing for the county team.
He rose through the ranks to become a full-time pro at Villa Park for a year-and-a-half, playing alongside the likes of Tony Daley, Gordon Cowans, David Platt and Alan McInally.
Steve McMahon then signed him for Swindon Town for £100,000 in 1995 and Cowe helped his new club win the old Division Two title. Cowe scored 12 goals in 117 first-team appearances for Swindon.
He almost signed for Forest Green Rovers following his release from Swindon in 2001, but manager of the day Nigel Spink – a former Villa team-mate – had already spent his budget.
Instead, fate took him to Newport County where he teamed-up with Tim Harris and Colin Addison, who later took him on to Forest Green.
Spells at Hereford United, Redditch, Weston-super-Mare and Cirencester Town followed, before his final switch to Cinderford – where he temporarily served as caretaker manager, alongside Matt Bath, following the departure of Keith Knight. Now a plasterer by trade, Cowe lives in Tuffley. Cinderford manager Mike Davis saluted his retiring midfielder, saying "Steve has been a terrific ambassador for this club and he'll be sorely missed.
"On and off the pitch he's been fantastic for us."