Coaching and punditry; for many footballers these are the only two options available when retirement looms at the ripe old age of 35. But not everyone wants to spend the rest of their days in the dugout or in a studio with Alan Shearer.

So what do they do? Open a pub, run a fishing lake, investigate suspected cases of human trafficking? Bizarrely, these are some of the jobs that former pros have turned to in retirement, and you know what, it gets even weirder.

Julian Dicks

Unless you are a Birmingham, West Ham, or Liverpool fan, the chances are you hated Julian Dicks in his playing career. In fact, even if he played for your club, you probably didn’t like him very much. He was a no-nonsense player with a take-no-prisoners attitude that made up for his lack of skill.

Forced to retire due to injury, Dicks decided to open kennels with his wife, but after a messy divorce, he was left looking for yet another career. He then took up professional golf (yes, we kid you not) but a combination of his knee injury and a lack of patience saw that fall flat.

He then opened a pub and had a go at that before West Ham Ladies came calling and gave him the managerial job. He’s now managing amateur team Heybridge Swifts FC in the Isthmian League.

Jody Craddock

Craddock was a natural born leader when he captained Wolves to the Championship title back in 2009. And it was these leadership qualities that led many to believe that the man was destined for a role in management, perhaps even managing Wolves in the not too distant future.

But when he retired in 2013, he surprised everyone by becoming a professional artist. He enjoyed painting as a hobby during his playing days, but it turned out that he was actually pretty good. Good enough to have his work displayed in galleries and to have pieces commissioned by the players he used to line up against week in week out.

Lee Bowyer

It’s a shame that Bowyer’s footballing career during which he scored 99 goals is remembered most for his on-field punching match with Kieron Dyer. After retirement, he decided to leave football and bought himself a carp-fishing lake in France which he named after himself (in French of course).

He even reckons that he’s a good enough angler to go professional but the lure of football was too great and after stints as a coach and caretaker manager he’s now at the helm of League One side Charlton Athletic.

Dani Osvaldo

Remember when Dani Osvaldo lit up the south coast as a prolific striker for Southampton? Neither do we because he only managed three goals in his terrible spell in England. A bit of a journeyman, Osvaldo is best remembered for punching a teammate at Roma because he didn’t pass the ball to him. His playing career fizzled out when he was about 30, and so he decided to become the lead singer of band Barrio Viejo in Argentina.

The Argentinian was so disillusioned by football that he apparently turned down a $2million a year contract with Chievo back in 2016 so he could play with his band. Hopefully, he doesn’t live to regret that decision.

Gavin Peacock

Peacock was a bit of a legend during his 18-year playing career that included stints at Newcastle, Chelsea, and QPR and after his retirement, he was a pretty good pundit on Match of the Day. So it came as a bit of a surprise when in 2008 he announced that he was stepping away from football.

He then moved to Canada and started studying to become a pastor. He now preaches to his congregation at Calvary Grace Church in Calgary, Alberta. He has even co-authored two books on pastoral work and religion.

Arjan de Zeeuw

Remember when Arjan de Zeeuw was the dark horse centre-half that everyone had in their fantasy footy team? Well, the former Wigan captain decided upon retirement that he’d had enough of the beautiful game and returned to Holland to become a private investigator.

He now helps the national police force and specialises in human trafficking cases and bringing down local drug smugglers and dealers. Yes, this is his actual real-life job. Big change from playing against Man Utd in the League Cup Final.  

Tim Wiese

Perhaps the most bizarre career change has to be that of Tim Wiese. The German enjoyed a successful career with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga and was part of the German national squad that went to the 2010 World Cup.

These days he can be found wrestling alongside the likes of Sheamus and Cesaro in the WWE. Even more bizarre is the fact that the man known as The Machine is carving a successful career for himself in the ring.

Philippe Albert

Famous for that goal against Peter Schmeichel, the Belgian who brought the tache back into vogue made a strange career move when he retired from football. The former defender packed his bags and headed back to Belgium where he opened a fruit and veg business.

And that’s all we really know about it. He likes to keep himself to himself, and only appears on TV on rare occasions preferring to focus his attentions on his business.

Stuart Ripley

Ripley was a part of the all-conquering Blackburn Rovers side that won the Premiership back in 1995, but after a stint with Southampton, the winger hung up his boots and went to school. He qualified as a solicitor and worked for a law firm in the North West while also helping out the FA from time to time.

Unsurprisingly, he has disappeared off the radar and the last we heard of him he was making moves to become a lecturer. How many of your lecturers at uni had a Premiership winner’s medal?

Honorable mentions go to Ramon Vega who as an investment banker has made himself a cool $15million, David May who now operates a wine importing business, Roman Pavlyuchenko who is a politician in his homeland of Russia, and Bixente Lizarazu who has become something of a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu expert. 

So what about the current crop of footballers? Will we see Wayne Rooney as a cheesemonger, David Silva pursuing his lifelong dream of sheep herding in the Basque hills, or perhaps Jordan Henderson will finally get his chance to open that Newsagents he always wanted to?


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