Anyone that’s been watching the incredible Leicester City story this season must be wondering what has happened to Marc Albrighton. In many ways, Albrighton is a microcosm of the club’s story. The 26 year old winger was released by Aston Villa at the end of last season (official statement), having signed for the club as an eight year old, making over one hundred senior appearances. Born and raised just fourteen miles north-east of Birmingham city, Albrighton recently said “It was a real shock when Villa let me go…I was led to believe I was getting a contract, and then I found out two days after the season finished that I wasn’t”.
This quote illustrates the precarious position many footballers find themselves in at the end of each season. The footballer’s contractual position is quite unique. Breaking of contracts frequently occurs. Seeking “permanent” status on the back of multiple contracts, as almost every other member of the labour force seeks, has yet to happen. Albrigton, like all football players, has a very short window to earn a living and hopefully secure his future. Becoming unemployed last May must have been a very stressful situation. I’m sure the offer of a four-year contract from Leicester City was very welcome and ensured financial stability until he was thirty.
What’s happened since is simply remarkable. Albrighton, deemed surplus to requirements by now already relegated Aston Villa, is a maximum of eight points away from winning a Premier League medal. From a football perspective this is every player’s dream. The greatest benefits of this season will surely be economic.
Albrigton’s CV may include a Premier League medal, will include Champions League football and who knows what else. Leicester are in line for a financial windfall from both their Premier League finishing position and Champions League football. Albrigton may see an improved contract offer or an extension to the current deal. He may win his first full England international cap to add to his U20 and U21 caps. Endorsements may also follow. As a Premier League winner, if Leicester prevail, he should have no problem securing contracts well into his thirties. He will also be an attractive proposition for cash-rich clubs in China, the Middle-East and the MLS. In short, he is weeks away from securing his financial future.
Of all the bad decisions those in charge of Aston Villa have made over the past number of years, surely releasing Marc Albrighton must rank amongst the worst.