Sigurdsson forced to retire
LARUS Sigurdsson has been forced to admit defeat in his brave 15-month battle to overcome a serious knee injury.
The Albion defender now plans to return to his native Iceland with wife Disa and sons Sigurdur and Aron.
Sigurdsson will first bid farewell to Baggies fans during the half-time break of Saturday week's Hawthorns date with Charlton.
The 31-year-old has announced his retirement after suffering an unwanted hat-trick of serious knee injuries at Albion, all of which were completely unrelated.
Sigurdsson's last senior appearance in a Baggies shirt came at Crystal Palace in September 2003 when he damaged the cartilage in his LEFT knee.
He made his comeback for the reserves four months later - only to rupture the anterior cruciate ligament in his RIGHT knee in his third second string outing against Villa in March.
The former Stoke centre-half was recovering well from his latest setback.
But the previous injury he suffered at Palace continually flared up when he reached high levels of rehab work, forcing him to call it a day.
Sigurdsson's first major injury came in ex-manager Gary Megson's first game in charge of Albion at Stockport in March 2000, when he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his LEFT knee
He has praised the club for the 'excellent' treatment he has received during his five years and three months at The Hawthorns.
"I consider myself very fortunate to have been at a club like West Brom when these injuries came about," said Sigurdsson, who joined Albion in a Ł350,000 deal.
"Gary Megson was right behind me throughout and the club's physios, Nick Worth and Simon Spencer, have been absolutely great.
"The chairman has also been fantastic. In fact, the whole club has treated me brilliantly."
Sigurdsson added: "When I first signed for Albion, I met Nick before going for my medical and told him I'd gone five years without missing a game through injury at Stoke.
"I said 'don't worry, I never get injured.' I think I was jinxed from that day on!"
Although it has been a bitter pill to swallow, Sigurdsson claims his retirement has hardly come as a bolt out of the blue as the decision was all-but made for him.
"I've been struggling with my injuries for almost a year and a half now and every time I reached a certain level my left knee just kept breaking down," he said.
"I was then asked the questions 'how long do you want to carry on?' and 'how much do you want to risk permanent damage to your knee?'
"We all sat down and decided to give it one more go - but the knee broke down again. So the decision to retire was really made for me.
"It's been very hard to accept. I'd never had a serious injury before I came to West Brom and I've been very unlucky.
"But there's nothing I could have done about any of them. They've all been caused by accidents during games, either as a result of a collision or tackle."
Although Sigurdsson has spent more time in the treatment room than he would have liked at Albion, he will take plenty of fond memories back to Iceland.
He was an integral part of the first-ever Albion side to play in the Premiership during 2002/03 after helping the club pip Black Country rivals Wolves to automatic promotion on the final day of the previous term.
"I'll be saying goodbye to the fans at the Charlton game and thanking them for five great years," added Sigurdsson.
"The supporters have been absolutely fantastic to me - right from the start.
"I'm very proud to have played a part in what has been going on at West Brom over the last few years and helping get the club back where it deserves to be - in the Premiership."
Sigurdsson is now planning for a new life in what he describes as the 'real world', without football.
"We're working on moving back to Iceland," he added.
"My wife has used her time in England wisely by studying to become a beauty therapist.
"I'll be helping her set up a new business - opening a beauty salon in Iceland."
Meanwhile, chairman Jeremy Peace and assistant manager Nigel Pearson have paid tribute to Sigurdsson's service to the club.
Peace said: "Larus has been a model pro throughout his time with us and it's a real shame he has been forced to call it a day.
"I have been told by our medical staff how hard he has worked to try and overcome his injury but it wasn't to be. We wish him all the best for the future."
Pearson, who worked with Sigurdsson as first team coach at Stoke, said: "It is always sad when a player has to retire early.
"Larus was well respected in the dressing room at Stoke, as I'm sure he was here. He was hard-working, very professional and will always be welcome back."
Sigurdsson made 128 appearances for Albion, including 14 as substitute. His solitary goal came in a 5-0 Hawthorns win against Portsmouth in February 2002. He was also capped 43 times by his country.