Family commitments have led to Cammy Keith’s decision to retire – but the legendary Highland League goalscorer looks back on his career with pride.
The 34-year-old, who played for Keith across three spells, as well as turning out for Formartine United and American university side Binghampton, has decided to hang up his boots.
Keith finishes his career as the Maroons’ record scorer with 263 strikes.
He also netted 88 times for Formartine to take his tally with Highland League clubs to 351.
He revealed he made the decision to stop playing a year ago and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife Suzanne and their two-year-old daughter and son, who is one.
‘Time is right to hang up the boots’
Keith said: “It’s the family commitments which have been the main factor in my decision.
“It’s been hard on my wife Suzanne when I’m going straight from work to training Monday and Wednesday and she’s got two kids to look after when she’s working full-time as well.
“And then I’m away all day Saturday for 10-and-a-half months of the year and you don’t see them.
“Yes I’m young enough to still play on, but when I’m leaving my wife with the two kids every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday for 10-and-a-half months of the year, it’s a big ask of her.
“I feel the time is right to hang up the boots.
“Last summer I wasn’t ready after the season (2019-20) had finished prematurely and I was so close to 350 goals that I wanted to have one more shot.
“Last season didn’t quite pan out as I hoped it would, I wanted to play the proper season, but that didn’t happen.
“However, in the six games we played I managed to get the goals (six) to get to 350, so that was finishing on a high for me.
“I knew it was going to be my last season. People say to play as long as you can, but I’ve never wanted to play into my late 30s or 40s.
“It is a wrench to leave football, but it’s a decision I knew was coming.
“I made the decision last year really and as last season progressed I just knew it was the time really.”
Keith achieved team and individual success
During his career, Keith won the Highland League (2007), the Highland League Cup (2007 and 2013) and the Aberdeenshire Shield (2006 and 2007) with Keith and the Aberdeenshire Cup (2013) with Formartine.
He was also twice named Highland League player of the year (2011 and 2012) and finished as the division’s top scorer on three occasions.
Keith added: “I look back on my time in football with immense pride.
“I started playing in the Highland League at 17 or 18 with Keith and winning the treble (Highland League, Aberdeenshire Shield and Highland League Cup) in that team was tremendous.
“Then at Formartine winning the Aberdeenshire Cup was great and it was the last one I needed to win at our level.
“Winning back-to-back player of the year and top scorer awards when I was at Keith before going to Formartine meant a lot.
“I really enjoyed my time at Formartine, but I have a lot of affiliation with Keith.
“Coming back, becoming the club’s top scorer and then having the honour of receiving a testimonial really capped it off for me.
“Getting another top scorer award (2019-20 season) at 32 when we were a mid-table side was great as well.
“And latterly managing to pass 350 goals in the Highland League is another achievement I’m proud of.”
Thanks for the memories
Keith says he has plenty of people to thank for allowing him make the most of his time in football.
He said: “I’ve got to thank all my team-mates at Keith and Formartine, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been in the position to score goals and win trophies.
“I’d like to thank all my team-mates, many of whom have become and will remain friends.
“I’m thankful to the managers I’ve played under, in particular Steve Paterson at Formartine and the likes of Martin Allan, Darren Still and Dean Donaldson at Keith.
“I’ve also got to thank the supporters of both Keith and Formartine and the people behind the scenes at both clubs who always had a lot of time for me and I’ve always had a lot of time for them.
“My family have also played a massive part. My mum and dad have supported me from an early age and drove me all over the country.
“My wife Suzanne has allowed me to go and do what I wanted to do every Saturday for the 10 years we’ve been together, so I’m thankful she’s supported me and allowed me to do that.”