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Hang Up Your Boots: What Life is Like After Football

September 02, 2015

- Grant Whittington

 

For many, life after football is serene and relatively simple. Several players make the transition into a coaching or management career, for example, while other prominent performers tend to become pundits.

Not every ex-professional follows this path however, and the fact remains that many great players have enjoyed diverse careers after the game. This is even true in the modern age, enabling players to pursue their passions outside of football.

Leaving the game: The Career Paths of Former Players

Perhaps the best example of this was provided by England World Cup Winner Geoff Hurst, who despite plundering a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup Final was forced to pursue a career in insurance after retiring. While this may seem incredible now, this was typical of a time where players earned far less than they do today and were restricted in terms of media and coaching roles.

There are even some footballers who struggled to survive financially after their retirement, with former Spurs great Danny Blanchflower providing a prominent example.

While this is highly unlikely in the modern age, it is still far from a given that retiring professionals will remain within the game. Take former Blackburn Rovers winger Stuart Ripley, for example, who is best known for winning the Premier League title with the club in 1995. After retiring from the game, Ripley pursued a lifelong passion to attend university and decided to study law. After working tirelessly to achieve his goal, he became a qualified solicitor and currently teaches law in Ribble Valley, Lancashire.

Other Players who left the Game

Ripley is not the only title winner to leave the game, as Arsenal’s former player David Hillier can testify. Now 45, Hillier won the English First Division title with the Gunners in 1991, but after struggling to hold down a first team place he went onto to play for Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers in the lower divisions. After retiring in 2002, he became a firefighter in order to supplement his lifestyle and maintain a viable stream of income.

Former Wigan Athletic player Arjan De Zeeuw has followed a similar path, having become a police detective in Holland. Others take a less serious course of action, as former Manchester City midfielder Jeff Whitley decided to become a second hand car salesman.

This diversity of careers highlights that the relatively short lifespan of a footballer can offer advantages to those with broadened horizons, and offers hope to players who are uncertain of their future when leaving the game.

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