Former Liverpool and France striker Djibril Cisse retired from football yesterday in order to focus on a career as a DJ and producer. He also aims to develop his clothing brand. Cisse seems upbeat about finishing his career as a professional footballer. That may be in contrast to many others who struggle to deal with the conclusion of their short but highly lucrative careers as footballers. Pro careers usually conclude by a players mid-thirties. The end of a period of significant remuneration or celebrity status may have negative mental health effects when finishing up.
The pie chart below displays the post-football career paths of 142 players contracted to Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur for the 2000-2001 Premier League Season. While this is somewhat of a biased sample (as these are elite clubs), information was accessible on many of the players. Importantly, the bulk of the sample have since retired. The data is solely reliant on Wikipedia entries that provide qualitative information on life after football.
While I’m sure plenty of these ex-footballer have private business interests, very few players attempted to retrain. Some interesting stories do exist for the sample of players. Sol Campbell and Michael Stewart have sought careers in politics. John Halls entered the male fashion business. Frank Leboeuf has tried his hand at acting and Fabien Barthez began a career in motorsport in 2008. Michael Owen's story is more well known; he has become a successful racehorse owner and breeder. Perhaps the most interesting one of all is about ex-Liverpool full back Vegard Heggem who returned to Norway to work in the Salmon Fishing Business. Bad outcomes are seen too. Ronnie Wallwork was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2011 and, in the same year, Celestine Babayaro was declared bankrupt.
It will be interesting to see how this trend moves given the substantial salary increases seen in the sport, even since the 2000-2001 season. Thinking about these ideas reminds me of the story of Neil Webb, the England international and former Manchester United and Nottingham Forrest player. Webb became a postman after retirement. Many other top Premier League players of that era are also known for sourcing income from after dinner speaking. That generation were not part of the 'crazy money'. Such events may become a thing of the past.