Manchester United head physiotherapist Rob Swire has announced his retirement today, bringing to an end a 23-year career with the Red Devils.
Despite not being thrust into the limelight in the same way as a player or manager, physios and other backroom staff often fail to get the credit they deserve.
Swire is a classic case – one of the unsung heroes of a tremendously successful last two decades for the 20-time champions of England.
Swire admitted he had to think for some time about the decision, but decided to call time on a career which ran parallel to that of United playing legend Ryan Giggs.
“It wasn’t easy, it was a big decision”, said Swire, in an interview with manutd.com.
“It’s been a fantastic job, a brilliant job. I couldn’t have wanted anything better.
“I’ve spent 23 years at United, and the best of 30 years in total working pretty much seven days a week, I couldn’t keep doing it forever. I had to decide at some point when to stop and now’s the time.”
Swire has chosen Neil Hough as his replacement, the man who he himself appointed as his assistant 15 years ago.
Swire’s long service began in 1991 after responding to an advert in the Physiotherapy journal and was appointed assistant to United physio Jim McGregor.
He felt that working with McGregor and then Dave Fevre in his early years at United set him up for a fruitful career once he took over the senior role in 1999.
Swire is believed to be the longest-serving physio at one club in the Premier League.
In his time with the Premier League giants he has helped keep United stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Bryan Robson and David Beckham up and (literally) running.
In his interview with manutd.com, Swire said he was looking forward to putting his feet up and relaxing with his family, something he’s been unable to do properly for 20 years.
“After working seven days a week for such a long time, I’ve done something like 40 or 45 years’ work in 25 years, so I just want to put my feet up and see more of my family after spending so much time away from them.
“I’m also looking forward to catching up with the things I’ve not been able to do for all this time. I’ll get out in the garden, get out on my bike and just chill out.”
The retirement means United will head into the new season without one of the longest-serving members of staff in their history.