Montgomery announced his difficult decision to retire from professional football at the Mariners Awards Night on Friday - although he will retain an off-field role with the club.

He has accepted the role of Head of Football & Elite Performance and will take on a key leadership role with the Mariners' A-League, Youth League and Academy sides after completing a stint with the Wolves.

The former Sheffield United legend has played 116 games for the Mariners and was a key figure in helping the Gosford outfit avoid the wooden spoon in 2016/17. 

“I’ve been loyal since the day I started out my career. I spent 14 years at one club in England and five with one club here," Montgomery said.

"I’ve never been one to jump ship, I always like a challenge, I’ve had great success and tough times both here and in England but I’m a loyal person who always wants to see a challenge through. I’m committed to making the club a better place and help the young pros.

“There’s not much loyalty in football now but I’m proud to say that I only played for two clubs in my professional career,."

Wolves coach Jacob Timpano played a major role in getting Montgomery to commit to the NPL side for the rest of this season, a coup for the club which has A-League aspirations.

“It’s a real plus for us to welcome Nick to our club" Timpano said. "He is the thorough professional. Not only is he a great player he is also a fantastic person. 

"Nick will give us an additional level of leadership that will prove invaluable to our first grade squad and also filter all the way down right through to our juniors.”

Montgomery had plenty of suitors from Asia and across Australia but the recently naturalised Aussie said: “Football has been my life and I’ve never played simply because of the money. It’s always been about the challenge and about the team.

"I like what is brewing down in Wollongong with the club’s vision and I think I can add quite a lot to the team and quickly gel with my new teammates. I’ve come down here to win.”

The defensive midfielder makes his debut for the Wolves on Sunday at WIN Stadium – The Wolf Den when Wollongong take on one of the competition front runners Rockdale Suns. Wollongon currently sit in 8th place on the table and 10 points behind the Suns.

“It’s exciting being able to play straight away," Montgomery said of the Mother's Day clash. 

"I’ve continued training hard with the Mariners and lining up now with Yuzo Tashiro, a Japanese international, Patrick Antelmi – one of the most exciting forwards in the league - and a host of the young, local boys coming through we’ve got a great squad and are going to make a lot of people really sit up and take notice.

While only a short term agreement the Wolves intend to utilise Montgomery across a range of club initiatives and programs.

Timpano added: “Nick is the kind of player every team dreams of having. He’s hard, uncompromising and provides incredible self-belief in his team mates.

"There is no short cuts with Nick and he will raise the standards and professionalism of every single person in our club.

"Nick is going to give us insights and examples of exactly what it takes to make it. He is going to be great.".

The Wolves who are serious contenders for the next round of A-League expansion spots are hoping the signing continues to underline the club's credentials for the topflight.

Montgomery will be mentoring young players coming through the Wolves system, and imparting the knowledge he has gained through his long and successful career.

“It’s been a bit of an up and down season for the Wolves but we haven’t hit the halfway mark yet so there is still plenty of time to go," Montgomery said. 

Speaking on his decision to call-time on his playing career with the Mariners Montgomery added: “It’s not been the easiest decision in the world but I think it’s the right decision and right time at this stage in my career.

“I had a few conversations with (coach) Paul Okon, the coaching staff, the CEO and the owner about this new role, which most clubs in the A-League have. 

"Most of the clubs in the A-League have someone heading up football, working between the first team and the CEO to really push this club forward to ensure we compete with all the other clubs in the league. Despite not having the spending power of the other clubs, I’m confident that we can attract the right players so that we can be challenging for the top six every season."

After earning club legend status at Sheffield United, ‘Monty’ arrived on the Central Coast in the lead up to the club's the 2012/13 Championship winning season.

He scored three times in his time with the Mariners and signed off in style by winning the club’s ‘Noel Spencer Goal of the Year’ Award for his stunning strike against the Newcastle Jets in Round 26, ultimately handing the Mariners’ fierce rivals the wooden spoon. 

“To come out here, win the grand final and play in the Asian Champions League straight away was fantastic," Montgomery said.

"The fans have been brilliant, this is a fantastic place to play football, it’s been a tough couple of seasons but moving forward the club is in a great position. This season we set a platform with a new playing style and I think everyone can see that the club is on the way up – hopefully we can bring some new signings in and turn this club back into a team challenging for that top six every year.

“I look back on my career with fond memories having played at the highest level but for me it’s good that I can carry on playing semi-pro for a while – this is a decision where I’ve put the family first, a decision that is perfect for our long term future here on the Central Coast, with the Mariners.

“I want to thank everyone for how amazing they’ve all been since I arrived. From the moment I arrived the supporters and local community have always been kind to me. I’ve made some amazing friends and some are like family now. My daughters have grown up here, they started school on the Coast this year and it’s a special place so I love that we’ve made the decision to settle here and not to move on.

Central Coast CEO Shaun Mielekamp said: “Monty is a champion and it is a great sign of where the club is headed that we are able to grow our resources and expertise in off field roles.

“For too long this has been an area that the Mariners have been the only club in the A-League not to employ someone in this vital role.

"He will provide support to Paolo and myself and be ingrained throughout the club to ensure that our culture, values, football operations and elite performance aspects of the club are working to absolute optimum levels."

“There’s not much loyalty in football now but I’m proud to say that I only played for two clubs in my professional career,."