Former Mansfield Town star Johnny Mullins hangs up his boots at 33

Flashback - Mansfield's Matt Green gets free of Oxford's ex Stag Johnny Mullins but can beat the keeper
Flashback - Mansfield's Matt Green gets free of Oxford's ex Stag Johnny Mullins but can beat the keeper

Former Mansfield Town defender Johnny Mullins has retired from full-time football at the age of 33.

Mullins’ classy performances were one of the few shining lights in the dark 2007/08 season when Stags were relegated to the Conference, winning Player of the Year.

“I want to look towards the next chapter of my life, spend a bit more time with my family, and see what happens,” he said after parting company with Cheltenham Town after over 500 professional performances with seven clubs.

“Whenever I finished I wanted it to be on my terms. That’s how it’s happened and I couldn’t be more excited about the next part of my life.”

Mullins played 48 times for Mansfield over two excellent seasons and was described by manager Billy Dearden as the most improved player in League Two.

But with Stags relegated, Mullins turned down a new deal to stay in the Football League and signed for League One Stockport County.

“I’ve had a long career,” he said. “When I started when I was younger you have all these dreams of what you’d like to achieve.

“I didn’t quite make it to the Champions League final or the World Cup final but I enjoyed my run.

“I think now with the age I’m at I feel like I’m ready for another challenge and some opportunities that are coming to me from outside of football.

“I want to see where I can go further and put my career in the box – I really enjoyed it and want to move onto the next chapter.

“I’ve been fortunate to play in some very good teams under some really good managers and with some really good players.”

He added: “I’ll look back on my football career with a lot of pride and I’ve met a lot of wonderful people along the way.

“I’m sure there will be parts of me that will miss it, I know I’ll miss it as it’s been my life since I was six years old.

“But it’s time for the next stage and hopefully I’ve got a lot more years in front of me and I look forward to trying to be a success in my next venture.”

Mullins came through the youth system at Reading, signing for Stags after two loan spells with Kidderminster Harriers.

He then became club captain at Stockport over two seasons before spells at Rotherham United and Oxford United, winning promotions at both, and skippering Oxford to a Football League Trophy final at Wembley Stadium in 2016.

He joined Luton Town that summer where he completed a hat-trick of League Two promotions at the end of the 2017/18 campaign before making the move to Cheltenham.