WESTON: I LOVED BEING BACK AT CITY
Bluebird Rhys to give match-day insight during the season
Former Bluebird Rhys Weston recently called time on a well-travelled playing career that included stints in Norway, Iceland and Malaysia.
But last Saturday, Rhys was back on home soil to make his first ever visit to Cardiff City Stadium. Prior to joining the Bluebirds Player match-day commentary team, Rhys spoke exclusively to Player HD about calling time on fifteen years as a professional footballer and his plans for the future.
“It’s great to be back at Cardiff City after all these years,” Rhys began. “I loved my time with the Bluebirds before moving on in 2006.
“My playing career dragged on a bit I suppose [Rhys finally called time on his playing days aged thirty-five, following a loan spell at Sutton United]! In hindsight I probably should have finished a bit earlier but injury finally made me curtail it. I had a good run at it though and was very lucky to have played for as long as I did. It’s great to be back in a spectator capacity now.”
The former Welsh international credits his love of the game as the reason behind his extended playing time. Rhys earned seven caps for Wales between 2000 and 2005 – each of which were earned during his time as a Bluebird.
Having begun his career with Arsenal, Rhys moved to the Bluebirds in 2000 following an initial loan spell. He left Ninian Park in 2006, before going on to play for Port Vale, Walsall, AFC Wimbledon and Sutton United in the English pyramid; Dundee in Scotland; Norwegian club, Viking; KR Reykjavík in Iceland and Sabah FC in Malaysia.
Referencing his well-travelled career and vast experience in the game, Rhys continued: “It’s part of the fabric of who you are, essentially. I have played football full-time since I was sixteen and it’s all I know, so consequently you don’t want it to ever end.
“But unfortunately, time catches up with you. Your body starts feeling aches and pains a little bit more as you get older and for me it culminated in getting injured which finally terminated my career.
“As I said though, I had a great time along the way, met a lot of interesting people, visited a lot of interesting places and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”
Surprisingly, Saturday’s fixture with Reading was the first time Rhys had visited Cardiff City Stadium since its opening back in the summer of 2009.
“The nice thing was walking through the corridors here and seeing some old faces,” he reflected. “It’s testament to the Club, and it shows what an important club Cardiff City is.
“It’s nice to see that people who were here when I was here are still doing their jobs and still loving the Club as much as they did ten, fifteen years ago. In terms of the surroundings it’s incredible.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to come back; life kind of takes you in a certain direction. Thankfully I’m here now though and as I look around, it’s incredible.
“For me it was a no brainer coming to Cardiff City when I did. I had the opportunity to come to my home-town, play for a Club who were going in the right direction and be part of something. That was the appeal.”
Listen out for Rhys later in the season when he joins Ash and Mark on match-day commentary again. To watch the full interview with Ash, click on the YouTube link below!