York Knights are saddened to announce that Club Captain Chris Clarkson will retire at the end of the 2023 season after 14 years in professional rugby league.
Clarkson joined York from Castleford Tigers ahead of the 2020 season before being promoted to captaincy prior to the following campaign.
The back-rower went on to become the first York Captain to lead the Club out at Wembley in 90 years in 2021’s AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final against Featherstone Rovers.
Clarkson played a key role as the Knights secured a sixth-placed finish last year, before filling in at half-back in the historic 26-24 Play-Off Eliminators victory at Halifax Panthers - the Club’s first Betfred Championship Play-Offs triumph.
The 33-year-old enjoyed a hugely successful career in the Betfred Super League before moving to York.
Clarkson debuted for Leeds Rhinos in 2010 and went on to make more than 115 appearances for the West Yorkshire club across six seasons, featuring in the sides which won the 2011 Betfred Super League Grand Final and the 2012 World Club Challenge.
He also twice featured for Leeds at Wembley in the 2010 and 2011 Betfred Challenge Cup Finals.
Following a season on loan at Widnes Vikings, Clarkson joined Hull KR in 2016, spending three years with the Robins, including the successful 2017 Betfred Championship promotion-winning campaign.
The former England Knights international was part of the Castleford Tigers which reached the Betfred Super League Play-Off Semi-Finals in 2019 before signing for York.
Clarkson's career comes to an end, having racked up more than 300 professional appearances, 165 of those coming in the Betfred Super League.
Explaining his decision, Clarkson said: "When I left full-time rugby league, I set up my own building business, readying myself for retirement.
"That time has come now. At the end of last year, I still felt like I could contribute and give another year but this year has been difficult with niggles, waking up and aching on a morning and being able to make sure I can put everything into playing, as I always do in my preparation.
"While I’m still relatively healthy, I wanted to finish on my terms rather than somebody telling me that I need to retire!"
On his spell at the Knights, he continued: "I’ve absolutely loved my time at York and the club have been great with me. It’s been a really enjoyable time for myself and my family.
"My kids have been able to watch me play rugby league, which is something that I never thought would happen.
"Being able to lead the team out at Wembley in the 1895 Cup Final in 2021 and last year’s Play-Off win at Halifax are great memories and moments I’ll never forget.
"The York fans have been amazing during my time here and I’m looking forward to playing in front of them once again against Batley on Monday night!"
Reflecting on his career in the top-flight, particularly as part of a famous trophy-winning Leeds Rhinos team, the forward added: "I count myself so lucky to have been part of that great Leeds side, playing alongside some world-class players that I looked up to as a youngster.
"To be able to play at Wembley, Old Trafford and in World Club Challenges, sometimes I can’t get my head around how that happened looking back at it!
"Going on to play more Super League matches for Hull KR, Widnes and Castleford, it’s been such an enjoyable career.
"The people that I’ve met, I’ve made friends for life and it’s turned me into the person, father and business owner that I am now."
Clarkson concluded: "It’d be fantastic to finish on a high at the end of this season and continue our strong run of form.
"We’ve got two more games to go and it’d be amazing if we could finish in the Play-Offs."
Head Coach Andrew Henderson, who is proudly sponsored by Haxby Sports Bar, said on Clarkson's retirement: "It’s been a real pleasure to be able to work with Chris this season and it’s a shame that I won’t get to work with him in the future.
"Chris is an incredible man, a fantastic father and has been a wonderful player for York Knights throughout his time here and for the other clubs that he has represented, where he is really well thought of.
"Chris has played and won trophies at the highest level and since moving to the Betfred Championship, he’s helped us on our journey.
"I’m hugely thankful to Chris for his efforts to this club and also for what he has contributed to the game of rugby league in this country too."
Clarkson is set to make his final appearance at the LNER Community Stadium on Monday night against Batley Bulldogs (7.45pm), with a special performance from Skylights kicking off the evening (6.45pm).
General Admission tickets are priced at £20 for Adults, £15 for Concessions and FREE for Under-16s. To purchase your General Admission ticket, please click HERE.
Alternatively, you can head to the Ticket Office (next door to the Club Shop) or call 01904 942232.
Turnstiles at the LNER Community Stadium will open from 6.15pm.
Premier Club tickets are also available from £30 for Adults, £25 for Concessions and £10 for Under-16s.
To purchase your Premier Club tickets, head to the Club Shop (Opening times: Monday to Friday, 10am - 4pm) or call 01904 670880.