- Thirty-three per cent of players divorced within a year of retirement
- Forty per cent of former players declared bankrupt within five years
- Eighty per cent will suffer from osteoarthritis
Away from the glitzy, glamorous lifestyle of top Premier League footballers, the reality for many players outside of the top-flight when they retire is very different. No multi-million pound bank balances, no property portfolio, no suite of luxury cars, all paid for and sitting in the garage.
No, according to Xpro - a charity set up for the welfare of ex-professional footballers - the reality of life after football for most players is altogether more challenging.
The charity says 33 per cent of players get divorced within a year of retiring, 40 per cent are declared bankrupt within five years of playing their last game, and 80 per cent will suffer from osteoarthritis.
Former Bolton and Wimbledon striker Dean Holdsworth, managing director of Xpro, says they help ex-pros with all manner of problems: rehabilitation for addiction and stress-related disorders, relieving debt concerns, employment and retraining, among others.
'Every footballer is branded the same as the top 10 or 20 per cent of Premier League players,' Holdsworth told Goal.com. 'When you run a charity alongside football, it's not something which people say they need. In some cases it couldn't be further from the truth. 'We manage the majority not the minority. Many players in the Premier League won't need help with finances or welfare.'
While accountants Deloitte estimate that while the average Premier League salary is £23,000 a week, this drops to £5,000 in the Championship. And Holdsworth says that an alarming number of players don't plan for their future from what is a very short career and the first contact Xpro has from most players is a panicked phone call when their contracts are about to finish.
'For top players the issue is a loss of status, but for the lad who has been released by Accrington the concern may be how to pay the mortgage.'
Date: 12 March 2014
Writer: John Drayton
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