Ledley King is the last of a dying breed in football.
There are not too many one-club men left, but King was a local boy who came through the ranks at White Hart Lane and stayed there throughout his career.
I have a family connection to Ledley, who is my second cousin, but putting all bias aside I think he is a real example and it's good that Tottenham are looking after him by giving him an ambassadorial role.
His career shows the importance of clubs having a backbone of home-grown players.
It would be unrealistic to expect the same kind of loyalty from Luka Modric or Gareth Bale, since they have only been at Spurs a few years and were themselves signed for multi-million pound fees.
A strong youth system, of course, is the formula that Manchester United used so successfully during my time, and from which Barcelona have profited.
Having stayed with Spurs through the lean times, it seems a shame that King has quit just when they are establishing themselves as consistent top four contenders.
Nevertheless, I think he has made a wise decision in calling it a day. Whether or not he would have been physically able to go on, last season we saw evidence of decline with some uncharacteristically shaky performances.
The game that sticks in my mind was the 3-2 defeat to Manchester City in January, when he made a really poor challenge to concede a late, decisive penalty.
At that point, it looked like the beginning of the end.
Often, players are not able to let go and carry on too long. It is a great shame that Ledley has had to bow out at 31, but this way he will leave the fans with almost entirely positive memories.
The moment that people have been talking about today was his amazing last-ditch intervention on Arjen Robben, when he made up 15 yards on the Chelsea player before timing his tackle perfectly.
That moment summed up King's immense physical ability, his determination and his technical ability as a defender - the tackle had to be perfect, and it was.
But he was about much more than the flashy, headline-grabbing moments. He was the rock on which Tottenham built their defence, a remarkably calm and consistent player who rarely made a mistake and seemed in control of every situation.
That he only won 21 England caps seems like a bad joke. If not for all those injuries he would have been closer to 100. Even in the era of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, a fully-fit Ledley King was this country's best centre-back.
Although his level inevitably dropped in the later years, it was absolutely astonishing that he could play at all given the extent of the damage to his knees.
I had my share of injuries during my career, and I know how debilitating they can be. Eventually you reach a point where you are never 100 per cent - there is always something nagging away and taking an edge away from your game.
But I never had a situation like King, whose injuries prevented him from training almost completely.
To sit on the sidelines all week, and then come in and perform on a Saturday is nothing short of miraculous.
It is not just the obvious lack of fitness that is the problem - you need to keep yourself sharp, and work on specific aspects of your game with the rest of the back four.
That King could perform well without any of this tells you just how talented he really was. He will be missed.