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