Ex-Preston North End favourite Chris Humphrey eyes next career move after retiring from football

Chris Humphrey in action for PNE
Chris Humphrey in action for PNE

Former Preston winger Chris Humphrey is aiming to turn to management after injury forced a premature end to his full-time playing career.

The 31-year-old announced last week that he had decided to hang up his boots.

He is now working to pass his coaching badges and has been working as a volunteer at PNE’s academy, helping to coach the Under-16s.

A stress fracture of the shin he suffered during his time at Deepdale is the reason for Humphrey’s decision to swap the pitch for the tracksuit.

During three-and-a-half years at North End, he made 133 appearances and scored eight goals.

Humphrey has played for Hibernian, Bury and Barrow since leaving the Lilywhites in January 2017.

“I’ve had a decent career, I was fortunate to have done so, and it has been my decision to stop playing,” Humphrey told the Post.

“I’ve been a volunteer at the academy and they’ve been wonderful with me.

“I’ve been helping to coach the Under-16s and that has been something I’ve really loved doing.

“That made my decision to stop playing so much easier.

“The staff at the academy have been brilliant – John Prince, Matt Craddock, Nick Harrison, Andy Fensome and Dave Rogerson.

“In the next few years I would like to be a manager somewhere.

“At the moment I’m doing the ‘B’ Licence course with a couple of the Preston lads.

“Neil Bailey from the PFA is putting the course on and I asked if I could tag on.

“Hopefully I will pass that in the near future and move on to the next one.”

Humphrey’s shin injury was one caused by wear and tear, it manifesting itself in the 2015/16 season.

After rest failed to see the fracture mend, he underwent bone graft surgery.

But three years on, it was still inhibiting him.

Said Humphrey: “It just got to the point where I was in a lot of pain.

“When I was running, the contact with the ground was sending a pain up my leg.

“The specialist didn’t say I had to retire but it was about how much pain I could take.

“I had a long discussion with my wife and I decided this was the right time to stop.

“With full-time football, I wasn’t getting the amount of rest needed between games to allow it to settle down.

“Recently I’ve had a few non-league clubs contact me to see if I could just play on a Saturday.

“So although I’ve retired from the full-time game, that is something I could consider.

“I’ve not agreed to anything like that yet, I don’t know if I want to do it.

“But it could be an option at some stage.”