EVERY club suffers from career-ending injuries to its players, but it seems Charlton have suffered more than most recently.

Last season Andy Hunt, who was top scorer as the Addicks won the Division One title in 1999/2000, was forced to retire due to chronic fatigue syndrome.

And now Clive Mendonca has quit after being advised he could be permanently disabled if he continued to play.

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Mendonca, who last game was in December 1999, said: "Obviously, I'm absolutely gutted, but I've got to take the surgeon's advice. He says that if I carry on then I'll definitely need a hip replacement."

Mendonca scored 45 times in 96 games for Charlton and became a legend when he scored a hat-trick to clinch their place in the Premiership in that never-to-be-forgotten Wembley play-off final against his boyhood club, Sunderland, in 1998. In all, the former Rotherham, Sheffield United and Grimsby scored 150 goals in 415 games.

Clive, who lives in Dartford, said: "I've worked so hard to get back and had a massive operation in January last year, but it's taken its toll. I got through pre-season but the problem returned.

"I've had so many letters of support. The fans been absolutely magnificent to me from day one and I'd love the opportunity to show my appreciation."

The 33-year-old added: "It's tough, but a lot of players have to give up earlier than me. I've had a half-decent career, and at least I've got great memories to treasure."

After Charlton were relegated, he managed nine more in the First Division until his injury nightmare began.

Unfortunately, the nature of his injury means he can now longer play any type of football, even at non-league level, and his next step may be to take his football coaching badge, with the suggestion that Charlton's academy strikers may benefit from his experience just one possibility.

"I haven't had much time to think about my future, but I would like to stay in the game," said Clive. "I'd love to stay with Charlton in some capacity and if the club was to offer me anything, then I'd seriously consider it."