After my recent article on Djibril Cisse and his bizarre career move, or should I say moves, I started to wonder what other players did after retirement. During my research into this area, I found some truly interesting and also bizarre options being taken up by former players.
Some of these jobs aren’t the sort of jobs you would find in the local paper or job centre. From Politics to Pastors via WWE wrestlers, footballers have very strange ideas on second career options! Here are my top 11 favourites.
1) Kakha Kaladze, Politician: The former AC Milan defender not only made shock waves in Italy with his defensive qualities but later on in his political stances. After retiring from the game, the former Georgia international went into that slightly shadier game called politics, and is now deputy Prime Minister of Georgia. Truly unique in the fact that he reached this landmark, he is probably the most successful former player on this list out of all the people I found.
2) Gavin Peacock, Pastor: Most players wish they could have God on their side but the former Newcastle United and Chelsea striker could really claim to have the big man seeing over him. A 2008 interview just after he quit punditry for the God squad in Canada, heard Peacock say that ‘when I got the call from the ministry, I felt that this was something I had to do.’ All a bit random but hey, God is my witness!
3) Tim Weiss, Wrestler: ‘I don’t care. I will hurt them; they won’t hurt me. Anyone can have a go at me: I’m unbeatable!’ Former Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese wasn’t talking about opposition strikers but of his new career as a WWE wrestler! The most random career move on this list, the former German international has gone from sharing the same pitch as Arjen Robben and Marco Reus to sharing a stage with John Cena and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin. I suppose there are some similar aspects to the two sports, football is full of diving while wrestling is totally fake. The transition must have been quite smooth if you think about it!
4) Jerzy Dudek, Rally Car Driver: Remember Dudek playing for Liverpool? Do you particularly remember the fact he couldn’t catch anything despite him being a goalkeeper? You would hope his handling of rally cars is better than at corners and free kicks. He appears to be doing very well to be fair to him in his new venture. However, there are some Reds fans who would say he was doing ok until he dropped those clangers against Manchester United in 2003 and then in 2004 against the same opposition. I don’t know what the rally car equivalent of that is but I expect it’s a lot more painful than a scathing back page headline!
5) Ramon Vega, Entrepreneur: Vega will go down as possibly one of the worst Spurs defenders of all time, so bad in fact they signed him twice. I doubt he gives a monkeys nowadays after establishing a very successful business portfolio back home in Switzerland, where he probably earns a Premier League salary still to this day! While opposition fans used to laugh at his performances, Roman is certainly laughing all the way to the Swiss banks he uses to no doubt store the millions he still earns!
6) Ben Burgess, Teacher: “Ben who” you may ask? “That’s Mr Burgess to you” he would reply nowadays. The former Hull City and Blackpool striker studied a PGCE while with the Seasiders and is now teaching in a secondary school. He said in an interview that the difference between a changing room and a staff room is that ‘the changing room has been replaced by a staff room full of women, but the banter is still there, albeit without the swearing’. Because that’s what we all want for our kids isn’t it folks, good banter…
7) Lee Bowyer, Fishing Entrepreneur: For a man who looked permanently angry, Lee Bowyer has taken up a quite relaxing pastime after his retirement. The former Leeds and Newcastle United man set up his own carp fishing business. It’s been so successful he has set up a carp business in France called ‘Etang De Bows’. I don’t think Kieron Dyer has been invited down yet, he might end up in the water if he doesn’t do what he’s told by his ex-midfield partner!
8) David Hillier, Fireman: Remember David Hillier? The former Arsenal player, won two league titles with the club? Played under George Graham? Played with Ian Wright and Tony Adams in that great Arsenal side between 1988 and 1994? No me neither, he is however doing a job which is a lot harder than winning fifty-fifty balls and man marking Eric Cantona. Mr Hillier has been a fireman for the last ten plus years, transferring his ability to put out fires (metaphorically and literally) from one career to another. I bet he prefers this over a George Graham halftime hairdryer any day of the week!
9) Rob Jones, Children’s Day Care Services Manager: From man marking Ryan Giggs in a Liverpool vs Man Utd game on his debut to making sure little Johnny has his afternoon nap, life couldn’t be more different for this former right back. After retiring through injury in the mid-90s, Jones was stuck in regards to his next career move. Mrs Jones worked in a nursery and this saw Mr Jones move into the childcare business. He would have had plenty of experience dealing with the likes of Robbie Fowler, Jamie Redknapp, Steve McManaman and David James. There is a case to be argued that the current group of babies that Mr Jones takes care of have a higher intelligence than the four mentioned above. I’m sure we can all agree on that!
10) Stuart Ripley, Lawyer: Former Premier League winning winger Stuart Ripley has gone from whipping testing balls into the penalty area to cross referencing case law in the courtroom. Ripley claimed that walking away from football gave him a different perspective on life. Clearly that view was that lawyers can earn a good living from stating the obvious!
11) Marco Gabbiadini, B&B Owner: Former Sunderland player Marco opened up a bed and breakfast with his wife in the mid-1990s after he retired. I hear he is good to his customers but he must have the following from all who stay at his place: They are not from Newcastle, you don’t say to him ‘weren’t you that guy who played for Sunderland ages ago’ and that you don’t complain about everything being covered in Red and White stripes!
These are just the less mad career options by the way. There are people like Curtis Woodhouse who became a better boxer than footballer, Frank Lebeouf who is as bad an actor as he was a footballer. His former France team mate Bixente Lizarazu, on the other hand, decided to break people’s limbs for a living as a jujitsu expert!
So for all the guys looking to quit the game and try something new, there is a wealth of options out there. You could be like Leeds United and Crystal Palace flop Tomas Brolin and try anything possible including professional poker player or (this was a very weird option to take) becoming an actor in a number of television adverts for a Swedish jacuzzi company!
Or you could just be like everyone else and fail at coaching before taking up a cushy little number on the Sky Sports payroll. Decisions, decisions.