Published: 11:39, 28 June 2019
| Updated: 12:42, 28 June 2019
Stuart Lewis is hanging up his boots to become a full-time coach at Tottenham.
The 31-year-old has retired from playing after being offered a top job working with the academy at Spurs.
Lewis played for various Kent clubs in a 12-year professional career that started with Barnet in 2007.
Lewis, who also won promotion with Wycombe, had offers to carry on playing after leaving Crabble following last season’s great escape.
But the chance to work full-time at Tottenham means it’s time to concentrate on coaching.
Announcing his retirement on KentOnline, Lewis said: “Spurs are a massive Premier League club and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to go full-time.
“I’ve been coaching there part-time for the last four years and this is the next step in my career.
“The decision to retire is not one I’ve made lightly but it’s what I want.
“As many people know, I’ve always made quite bold decisions and big calls and I felt this was the right time.
“I’ve found the balance of the two quite difficult, playing and coaching, and the commitments that brought.
“I feel it’s the right time to focus on the next step of my career and my life.
“I’ve got my little boy now and my family so I’ve got to think of them as well.
“I will miss parts of playing but I’m in a good position and a stage of my life where I can focus on becoming the best coach I can be.
“I love giving something back to the kids from the experiences I’ve had in my career, the ups, the downs, and what it takes to become a pro.
“I want to focus on improving the players and giving them an insight into what’s next in their pathway.
“It’s up to me to help them fulfil their potential and obviously they’ve got huge potential because they’re already in the building at Spurs.”
Lewis’ energy, work rate and commitment made him a crowd favourite wherever he played.
There are plenty of highlights to look back on during a career that also saw him play for Stevenage and Dagenham and represent England under-16s and under-17s.
He said: “The Gillingham Wembley win was brilliant.
“I don’t think I enjoyed the day enough at the time but that was a stand-out moment to play at Wembley at 21. It was unbelievable.
“The promotion into League 1 with Wycombe was another amazing moment and I’m still friends with a lot of that team.
“Also, the Maidstone days where we stayed up and when I captained the club.
“The rapport I had with those supporters was unbelievable.
“When they used to get that song going in the new stand, that was a real highlight.
“It used to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
“To finish it off at Dover with the great escape was really good, too.
“I had a short but a great time there.
“I got player-of-the-year awards at Wycombe, Ebbsfleet and Maidstone, which mean a lot as well.
“I’m a team player but to get individual awards along the way has been a real pleasing aspect as well.
“I’d really just like to thank all the Kent football fans and the managers I’ve worked for.”