November 2016.

What is the worst part of being a professional footballer?

1 answer

You are talking about people who have done something that they have always wanted to do. People who have come through the hundreds of thousands of people who would like to get to that position and be a professional footballer. It is the greatest job in the world, you are able to fulfil your passion. But, like anything that good, one day it is going to be taken away. 

I think we have seen this, with the issues players are having after they retire from the game, whether it's just their outlook on life; problems with mental or physical well-being; one out of three former players going bankrupt within five years, three out of five getting divorced... you are leaving your profession at around the age of 35, when most people are just really getting started in their careers. 

You are losing something that has defined you, over and above being a job. When you take that away from someone it leaves a void in their life that cannot be filled by anything else. Lots of people struggle. The hardest thing is realising that you are not your job. You are not a professional footballer forever – it was a role you had. It was the best time of your life, but it was a passing time.

Leaving the highs of the game behind can prove challenging to many retirees