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Medical condition means defender has been advised to call time on his playing career

26 November 2018

Northampton Town defender Leon Barnett has been advised to retire from football because of a heart condition.

The former Luton Town, West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City, Wigan Athletic and Bury centre back has been diagnosed with the condition that, according to professional medical opinion, would make it unsafe for him to continue training and playing.

"We are all devastated for Leon," said manager Keith Curle.

"Leon had been having some issues but after a reaction in the Bury game we knew something wasn't right, so we sent him for further testing. The medical team made the correct decision to stop all activity, and after testing and second and third opinions, for his own health and safety, Leon has been advised to retire.

"It is very sad news. Leon is not just a good player, but an important figure off the pitch too.

"However, far more importantly for Leon and his family, is that this has been diagnosed now and he is fit and well.

"He has enjoyed a fantastic career as a player, playing at all levels of the game to play over 350 senior games across the four divisions.

"As a club, we offer our full support to Leon and his family, we will honour his contract and we will help them however we possibly can. We know Leon is looking to gain coaching experience, and we have offered him the opportunity to undertake some coaching duties across all levels of the club, at both first team and academy level, over the rest of the season."

Chairman Kelvin Thomas added:

“This is clearly a difficult time for Leon and his family and they are our priority here.

“I am sure all supporters will join us in wishing Leon well and while we will no longer benefit from Leon’s playing talents, we are pleased that he will remain on board with us for the rest of the season, doing some work at first team level as well as coaching with the academy.

“He has a lot of experience that we can tap into, and at the same time Leon can gain coaching experience to help with the next stage of his career.

“Sometimes there are more important things than football and as a club we will do what we can to support Leon and his family.”

Barnett made more than 350 appearances in his playing career, playing in all four senior divisions of the English game.

He appeared 24 times for the Cobblers, his final match was Keith Curle's first game, the 0-0 draw with Bury in early October.

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