FOR many professionals, life after football is something they are not prepared to countenance or, quite often, make provisions for.
A footballer’s job specification may come complete with a glossy brochure and alluring financial remuneration, especially at the highest level. But all that glitters is not always gold.
The average career of a footballer is estimated to span around eight years, with retirement in some cases being the precursor to deep-seated financial problems and even bankruptcy.
The importance of foresight and planning is never more apparent than now. Research has estimated that 40 per cent of Premier League footballers will be declared bankrupt within five years of retiring, with only the top players able to claim they are secure for life.
Lower down the footballing echelons, where the financial rewards are not as high, the need for players to make smart contingency plans and prepare for the day they hang up their boots is perhaps even more critical.
It is made more problematic by the proliferation of get-rich-quick schemes offered by people seeking to befriend players, promising to multiply their earnings in return for sizeable investments.
Young players are especially vulnerable and the value of wise counsel cannot be overestimated.
As a former professional who enjoyed a 15-year career with the likes of Barnsley and Huddersfield Town, Adie Moses is now providing financial guidance to footballers to help ease their transition to civvy street.
A director and financial consultant for his own Barnsley-based company called Onside Financial Management – which gives financial advice to footballers – Moses can also provide a playing perspective from his days as a young professional, too.
Moses, who runs the company alongside business partner and former team-mate Mark Stallard, a one-time striker with the likes of Barnsley and Bradford City, said: “There was a lot of bad advice out there for footballers when I was a young lad.
“What I do is heavily-regulated. What frustrates me is that people can still come into dressing rooms and sell lads ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes.
“Young lads can get sold a dream and they are quite vulnerable and seen as easy targets.
“The general perception of footballers is that they are a bit young, not the brightest and have a few spare quid out there. If you are a ‘shark’ out there, you can think: ‘let’s get into football clubs’.
“If a dream is sold where a player is told: ‘you can put your money into this and double it overnight’, unfortunately some of the young footballers nowadays will say: ‘where do I sign?’
“It is unfair to tarnish all the lads with the same brush and a lot of players will be clued-in and be getting good advice. But there has been a lot of bad press, with players being sold unregulated products and being ripped off. It is ridiculous.”
In an increasingly materialistic world, talk about financial advice is often unlikely to receive a receptive ear from many young and impressionable players, with peer pressure also contributing to them making unwise decisions, according to Moses.
He said: “I get it that young lads nowadays want to be driving nice cars and do not want to be seen driving into the club car park in a clapped-out old banger or whatever! But aside from that, you need your other plans in place.
“It is not my job to tell lads how they can and can’t spend their money. But I do give them advice and tell them the harsh reality.
“I speak to players about getting to a ‘cliff edge’ at the age of 35 and say ‘where do you then go? and paint it in pictures. I stress that if they have not done any financial planning, then it is a long way down.
“Retirement from playing is coming. It may be in the early twenties for a player or late twenties. Or they might be lucky and get to 35.”
On getting sufficient access to players to preach the importance of sound financial advice, Moses admits it is not straightforward.
He added: “The game has moved on in terms of the money. It is an education process for young players. If you can get hold of them early enough, you will know you can do a good job for them. Some lads are just interested about their next deal and if they are in the first team on Saturday. I understand that.
“One lad who I look after at a Premier League club had an injury-insurance policy and, at first, he did not know what it was.
“I have looked after him for about six years and he will be telling me now what the annual allowance is on pensions and understands about tax planning – he has a real interest in it.
“You do not expect the players to get it all, but the trust and relationship grows.”