Here, we’ll mainly be considering the transition from top-level football. This is purely because players in the lower leagues tend not to earn enough for football to be their sole career, therefore they have other jobs that they do alongside football that they can turn to when their playing days are over.
For top-flight players, it's difficult to turn to something they did when they were younger, so their options can be more limited if they aren’t content with simply living off their pre-earned riches. Here at Hanging Up Your Boots, we have assisted thousands of players in securing a new career following their retirement from football and these are the top 5:
1. MANAGER / COACH
Granted, this is an obvious one, but most modern day managers have had at least some experience at the top-level of football. Players often find it very difficult to completely walk away from football, so it’s no surprise that they turn to being in charge of the team rather than just a member of it.
It’s rare for players to go straight from playing to being a manager so they need to prove themselves and work their way up the ladder by gaining their coaching badges and some front line experience of coaching. This could be in the form of an assistant manager or being in charge of the youth team.
2. ANOTHER CLUB BASED ROLE
Not all players are cut out to be managers or even coaches, but they still want to involved with the club where they spent their days playing. These days, a lot of clubs use ex-players in ambassadorial roles, requesting them to represent them at meetings with UEFA, FIFA and other organisations for things like cup draws or executive meetings.
Another role that some players turn to at their club is that of scout. They may not have the ability coach a player but they may feel that they have the ability to spot a good one and point them out to the manager.
3. FOOTBALL PUNDIT
When it comes to football those that can, do and those that can’t, criticise. As well as joining the coaching staff, becoming a pundit is one of the most common options that ex-players take. It’s almost impossible to turn on a football-related show without seeing a former player offering their opinion.
Gary Neville of Manchester United, Jamie Carragher of Liverpool and Thierry Henry of Arsenal are prime examples of former players who have become successful television/radio pundits since retiring from football.
Most clubs also have their own dedicated TV channels, radio stations and social media channels meaning that ex-players can now write for the club website/blog, present on the club channel or commentate on radio.
4. FOOTBALL JOURNALIST
Another example of a job that former players might take on is not dissimilar to the above. Plenty of newspapers and football magazines use ex-professionals to fill their column inches or, as is becoming popular in the days of online content, earn them clicks. New media is where it's at these days and the opinion of someone who has first hand professional footballer experience - especially if it’s a controversial one - can make the difference between getting readers and getting relegated!
This option can also lead into writing an autobiography which is something that most modern day players do after they retire. These books are usually very popular as fans and the general public look forward to hearing the inside scoop on their favourite players or household names.
5. AFTER DINNER/GUEST SPEAKERS
Our final option is sometimes the most rewarding (both financially and personally) for ex-players and is the simple art of telling a story! Fans and peers love hearing the personal tales of ex-players - who they liked, who they didn't quite see eye to eye with, their ups and downs and their personal view of the beautiful game. These opportunities can present themselves through ex clubs (Supporter and VIP Events), company corporate dinners and charity events.