Friday, September 25, 2009

Once we were gods

I wonder whether Sol Campbell's week-long misadventure at Notts County is only the first of a series of personal/professional crises we're going to see as the first generation of born and bred Premier League superstars reach the point where they can't play at the gold standard any longer. Footballers have always had to face the day when their knees wouldn't hold them any longer and their lack of pace was cruelly exposed by some kid who was playing in a park not long before. The difference with this generation is that they were paid fortunes and treated like royalty throughout their careers. Facing mortality at the age of thirty-five must be particularly hard to take for the golden generation. Retired footballers used to lose their nest eggs on chains of sports shops. The money made by today's superstars will probably go the same way. It may take longer to go but it will go nonetheless.


  1. Reading your previous post and this, he could have a new career advertising the best kind of razor you use to shave your head. No-ones ever done that pitch, so far as I know.

  2. Anonymous10:31 pm

    The money made by this first wave of Premier League players has been extraordinary, but seems to have been well managed. Mansions and fleets of exotic cars have been bought, but well within the considerable means available. What I find interesting is what will become of these players’ children. I know there are wealth management experts involved, but there is a clear difference between being the child of self-made businesspeople and the child of a football player. This is perhaps what will replace the chains of failed sports shops as the main wealth-erosion agents: children who have had it all and will never have to work for themselves. They say it takes three generations to wear down a fortune, but we might now be looking at two, in these cases.

  3. Ian Wright wound up at West Ham, then Burnley. Teddy Sheringham finished at Colchester.

    In doing so they bolstered their "man of the people" credentials, which helped no end in their future media careers.

    As for Campbell, who knows: I can't see his future lying in that direction. Maybe he'll just get the hell out and invest wisely.

  4. I suppose I see a difference between the Wright/Sheringham generation of player, who started as old-fashioned apprentices and even plied their trade in non-league football, and the Campbell/Beckham/Giggs generation, who have operated at a level no previous footballer has known.

  5. Anonymous7:56 pm

    It's funny you should mention those three players, as I think they are among the brighter ones out there (even the much laughed at Beckham - I don't think he's the dummy some believe he is, and he certainly has professional management). So I think they'll be okay. It's some of the others who could be in trouble when they retire, the type who appear to have headed the ball rather too often.


  6. In other words, What Would Craig Bellamy Do?
    It's a frightening thought.

  7. Sol Campbell has form, though, doesn't he? How long did he walk away from Arsenal for, when he was suffering with depression?

    On your other point, although he never quite achieved the same level of 'succcess', it hasn't stopped Andy/Andrew Cole sticking with Sven at the County, so at least one of them has put his feet where the money is, so to speak!