The Future is not always Bright!

As the season comes to an end, hundreds of players are suddenly faced with the realisation that their careers could be heading the same way, as an estimated 700 players could be released by their clubs to face an uncertain future.


England may seem to be the land of plenty for Premier League players with massive salaries, mansions, swimming pools and Bentleys to boot, but as the season ends and a new one starting in a few months, life as a footballer is not all it’s cracked up to be for many professionals who are now without a contract and having to face Exit Trials to show what they can do!

It is a worrying statistic and shows the game is no longer immune to the player cull each season. If you believe the newspapers, the World Cup in Brazil will be a hive of activity for players, agents and dealmakers all touting for moves away from clubs to join rivals either at home or abroad. But there is a serious flip side to the celebrity world the top players live in.

Spare a thought for the hundreds of fellow professionals who are facing up to life in the new season without a team to play for. According to some reports there are likely to be over 700 footballers out of work when preparation for the new season begins in July. It will include trophy laden footballers all the way down to trainees who have not been able to turn that experience into a professional contract. There are, as reflected in everyday life, now clear distinctions between football’s haves and have-nots with new Uefa and economic conditions biting players hard.

Football is no longer immune to what is happening in the outside world and while there are no doubt the very top players are multi millionaires that are certainly not the case in the divisions of the Football League or the Conference. In the lower divisions the average contract is just one year, and sometimes it can be a rolling monthly contract.

The out-of-work footballer is not a new phenomenon – and some players become voluntarily out of contract as they seek lucrative new deals – but football seems to be re-aligning itself to cope with the more ‘austere’ times as a result of the FFP Rules. It has always been competitive and players have always have been very vulnerable.

However there should be a great incentive for the powers that be, to prepare players for this and a system where they are not suddenly thrown on the scrap heap. The economic downturn over the last five years that has seen unemployment escalate among the general population has also hit the world of football hard, and many high-profile footballers are now bracing themselves for a life outside the game, while many teenagers have had their dreams destroyed as football clubs tighten the purse strings.

It seems that many footballers now appreciate the harsh reality and are under no illusions how difficult it is to secure new employment due to the wider issues.

It is now generally accepted that most clubs outside the top five or six in England are feeling the pinch which is making things tougher than ever for professional footballers to secure work.

So as another season draws to an end and a new season dawns we will hear, read and see the hive of transfer activity, as well as the obscene amounts of money involved, however, as in “normal life”, there is always those who have fallen by the way side but still in search of the dream.

John Hendrie

Choix Consultant

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