HE COULD have been playing for either side on Saturday when Newport County AFC face Leyton Orient, but instead, ex-Wales international Danny Gabbidon is signing for Panteg AFC.

In a move that essentially signals the retirement of the former West Ham and QPR defender, Cwmbran-born Gabbidon is now looking towards the next chapter of his career.

Confirming the news, Panteg were also keen to point out the family connection that has led Gabbidon to the club, after he rejected a move to Orient earlier this summer, having previously been linked with the Exiles.

“Panteg AFC are delighted to announce the signing of Welsh international Danny Gabbidon with immediate effect, as a player and as a club coach,” they wrote.

“Danny has decided to retire from professional football in order to continue his media work as well as several other exciting opportunities within the game.

“Danny was offered several opportunities during this summer to continue his career at home and abroad but made the difficult decision to retire professionally from the game he loves and that has given him so much pleasure and success over nearly two decades.

“Having made 427 club appearances for Cardiff City, West Ham, QPR and Crystal Palace Danny is one of the most successful footballers to come out of Wales. His 49 caps for Wales remain his pride and joy and nobody can doubt he represented his country and every club he played for with class, dignity and humbleness, not attributes that can be given to all professionals in this day and age.

“One of Danny’s main motivations for signing for us was his desire to play competitively in the same side with his brother David for the first time in their careers, something they have talked about many times.

“We have no doubt that this signing will do great things for football in our local area and hopefully will encourage more young footballers to join our affiliated youth section at Griffithstown AFC and our Under 18 side.

“No doubt Danny will be on hand to pass on his considerable knowledge to not just the youth section but also to our senior sides and management who are looking forward to Danny’s involvement immensely.”

However, Panteg fans will have a few weeks to wait before they see their new signing in action.

“Due to Danny’s media commitments and post-football organising he needs to do, he will not be available for the first few weeks of the season,” the club explained. “However, we look forward to having Danny as often as possible during the season to help us achieve our goals for this coming season.

“We are extremely proud that Danny has come on board with us and we are sure he will make a great impact on and off the pitch.”