North Queensland Fury veteran Middleby to swap playing for front office role
Middleby decided on Thursday to end his playing career after three months of weighing up whether his 34-year-old body could continue.
''I think the day after the game it might hit me, but at the moment it's still all a bit surreal,'' Middleby, who will play his 112th A-League game tonight, told the Townsville Bulletin. ''At the moment it feels like any other game, which I think is a good thing.
''I sat down with the kids (on Thursday) and again went through it with them and said exactly what's happening and for them it's a big thing, which is good, but for me I don't think it will sink in until a few days later.''
Humble by nature, Middleby wants little fanfare to commemorate a career that has included two premierships and five international caps for the Australia Socceroos.
But his teammates have vowed it won't slip by without a whimper. Skipper and Fury marquee Robbie Fowler said Middleby deserved to go out a winner.
''It would be magnificent for him,'' the striker said.
''He's not said 'do this for me' - and obviously we want to go out to win anyway - but obviously the added incentive is it's his last game, he's respected by the lads, and it would be nice for him to go out on a high.''