“NO ONE EVER SAID I WISH I'D STARTED LATER.”
Viv Anderson MBE, former player Nottingham Forest, Arsenal, Manchester United, Sheffield Wednesday and England. Chief Executive Officer, PlayOn.
40,000 fans calling your name.
INTRODUCTION BY ALAN GERNON
Author of Retired: What Happens to Footballers When the Game's Up
Almost half of Premier League footballers face the threat of bankruptcy within five years of retirement. A third will be divorced within a year of hanging up their boots, rising to 75 per cent within three years.
With little or no support from the game to which they gave their lives, many end up addicted, depressed, living with debilitating illnesses, behind bars or even worse.
While elite few may be financially secure, or others may land plum managerial jobs or punditry roles, it transpires that for the majority retirement is something that they’re not prepared for and lives can spiral into a rapid and depressing decline.
“WHEN A PLAYER DOES RETIRE, AND IT’S MORE DIFFICULT IF YOU RETIRE PREMATURELY THROUGH INJURY, YOU OFTEN HAVE TO GO THROUGH A PERIOD OF BEREAVEMENT.”
Gary Stevens, former player Tottenham Hotspur Brighton, Portsmouth and England.
Problems encountered during retirement from professional football are not standalone issues. This loss of identity may lead to divorce, which in turn leads to financial problems. Financial problems can lead to mental health issues. They are all interlinked.
PlayOn aims to help combat these issues by offering retired footballers the opportunity to continue playing competitively after their professional career ends.
“Wish this had been available when I was playing.”
John Barnes, former England and Watford, Liverpool and Newcastle player.
Quotes with permission of Alan Gernon, author of Retired, and players quoted.