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Where do retired footballers go? - 5 options after retirement

After the ball, getting behind a mic is one easy option

‘All good things must come to an end.’ This timeless adage holds true for footballers too, who one day have to bid adieu to the only way of life they know. Sooner or later, the game starts to move faster than before, and the legs just don’t keep up and that is when it is time to throw in the towel. But it is easier said than done, given the rush of the spotlight and the pull of the cheers. No wonder the field has been compared to many a drug, some of which aren’t available even with a prescription. That leaves us with the thought, ‘Where do the retired footballers go’?

1. Manage

It is understood that a man on the field can one day come off it to direct the field from the outside. Football managers are generally players, with a few exceptions, which are inevitable. But managers who have played football at some level in their lives, are respected far more than the others. This can be attributed to the fact that the actually understand what the players are put through, and can easily relate to problems that plague the ones who draw the fattest paycheques in the sporting world.

A well-known player who turns manager has it easier and harder at the same time. His contemporaries know him inside out, and his tactics are never far from his own game. But on the other hand, he knows how to massage the ego and push his players further. To sum it up, footballers-turned-managers are aware of how things are run, simply because they were once an integral part of that very system.

2. Punditry

Who said the spotlight has to be switched off? The job of a pundit is a breeze compared to professional sport, and is second only to not doing anything. A pundit is an expert who gets to voice his opinion on national television while watching football. Maybe they should throw in some chocolate too.

Anyway, it is a cushy job, and more so for a footballer who has dragged his weight around for years. But it gives him the authority to actually be an ‘authority’ on the game, because ‘he has seen it all’. Again, the pressure is not to be understated, and constant negative feedback from the viewers, other argumentative ex-footballer panellists, a screaming producer and a stuck teleprompter are occupational hazards you might want to weigh in.

3. Administrate

Right when you thought nothing can beat punditry, along came this. Nothing beats a retired footballer who can direct people and actually run a club. Here, he/she may be required to sit in corporate boxes and look busy while their club plays out a fixture which is diminutive in the larger picture of their ‘Club Development’ initiative. Again, someone like a Patrice Viera has to be doing something way better than being a ‘Development Executive’ of Premier League club Manchester City. Also, Shebby Singh, who isn’t really a footballer to begin with, cannot become Blackburn’s ‘Global Advisor’.

4. Conduct Business

The easiest way to open shop is to start ‘Insert-Your-Name Coaching Academy’. Consider this; you are a well know name in a popular sport that is played across the world. All the hard work has been done already and all you need to do is to consolidate and launch. Starting your own academy gives you the freedom to boss people around and actually spread the good word too. A number of footballers do more than just PR charity work and they actually reach the masses with their programmes. It is completely okay to make a buck out of your enterprise because at the end of the day, food must be put on the table. But very few actually share that food with the ones who really need it.

5. Lose it

Your friends are gone, family doesn’t answer, girlfriend/wife has left you and you wake up alone each day. The answer must certainly be alcohol and/or drugs. A number of stars hit the roof real quick and wish that it never ended. End it must, and they take the spiral down in to oblivion. On the way, they acquire habits that are detrimental to their health and pocket. One common example is Paul Gascoigne, who has a silent ‘G’ in his name. Gascoigne, or Gazza has his poker buddies call him, has been in the news on and off, for his habits that are far from ideal. This is also the worst possible way to end a career.

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