What is more of a loss, then, is the lack of experience in the ‘real’ working world. Many players turn to business as it’s one of the few jobs that don’t require paper qualifications. It also has the potential to sustain the potentially wealthy lifestyle of professional footballers.
However, building a life away from football isn’t all to do with finance. Many find the initial heartbreak of being released from a professional academy devastating. There have been stories of talented players giving up on football entirely, due to the lack of aftercare from their respective ex-clubs, while others have fallen into a vicious cycle of depression, sometimes with tragic consequences.
Are the FA and individual clubs really doing enough to support players’ mental wellbeing once they retire or leave the academy system? Reports would suggest not, but that’s a debate for another day. Regardless, it’s important for any footballer building a life away from football to be guided by professionals in the industry they’re moving into.
One thing that every industry needs, however, is branding.