THE curtain has come down on one of English football's famous left backs with Oxford United's Rufus Brevett announcing his retirement.

The 37-year-old is hanging up his boots after a magnificent career in which he has made nearly 700 league and cup appearances, most notably in the Premiership for QPR, Fulham and West Ham.

United manager Jim Smith said at the weekend: "Rufus has told me he's packing in the game."

Brevett was in the twilight of his career when Smith brought him to Oxford last September, as back-up for Gavin Johnson, and as someone who would challenge the former Ipswich and Northampton man - who was himself 35 - for the left back position.

Johnson was sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring injury in early September, and Brevett came in and made the position his own, soon showing quality with the simplicity of his passing and all his experience whenever quick right wingers were up against him.

Johnson did return later though there was little between them, with Brevett arguably the better left back, and Johnson better as a left wingback because he was used to a more forward midfield role.

Brevett played a big part in the U's reaching the play-offs, although he missed the final two home games of the regular season because of suspension after getting sent off for retaliation in the 1-0 defeat at Northwich on April 6.

He returned as a sub in the final game at York, and he went out on a high note for Oxford, coming off the bench in their 1-0 win at Exeter in the first leg of the play-off semi-finals. He didn't feature in the second leg.

Born in Derby and christened Rupis, though nicknamed Rufus, he was an outstanding and speedy left back when he burst on the scene with Doncaster, where he had been a trainee.

Among his honours were a Division 2 championship medal under Kevin Keegan with Fulham in 1999 and a Division 1 championship medal at Craven Cottage two years later, when Jean Tigana was the manager.