The recent retirement of former City left back/captain and all round Hall-of-Famer Adam Drury (12 campaigns; 361 games, 4 goals, 40 yellow cards, 0 red cards) was not surprisingly met with universal praise and respect from his old Carrow Road team mates and fans alike.
Announcing his decision, Adam stated, “…as one door closes, another opens. Let the new adventure begin!”
He didn’t say exactly what was next on the cards for him to fill that void left behind but presumably the world is now his oyster with many and varied career opportunities to take his pick from.
Perhaps a lucrative autobiography is in the pipeline with insights and background into his ‘apprenticeship’ at Peterborough, his glory days at City – which culminated with the 2003-4 Championship ‘best-in-class’ squad which gained promotion to the big time under Drury’s leadership – and finally some juicy revelations from a short stint at a turbulent Elland Road dressing room.
Can I suggest “The Drury is Out” for a title if not settled on yet?
Long term, coaching maybe (like Neil Adams or Gary Holt)? Media work (like Darren Eadie and Iwan Roberts)? Charity fund raising (like Jeremy Goss)?
Long gone are the days when pub landlord or bricklayer were more realistic ‘after the parade’ paths for those who had been used to kicking a football for a living – at least for those who didn’t make it to the highest level.
While some seem to be unable to let go of the limelight that may still flicker after their boots have been packed away in the loft, others – either voluntarily or otherwise – slip away into the obscurity of the type of ‘normal’ everyday life such as you or I have.
Of course, the degree to which such a pivotal life transition is a wrench or not depends on the individual and the level of achievement they attained within the game. It can be a shocking psychological blow to no longer have the daily routine of training/playing and the protective cocoon which a professional football club provides to its playing employees.
The struggles of Darren Eadie and Leon McKenzie have been poignantly documented.
The ‘where are they now?’ website or column is a pretty readily available tool to quash that nagging question of, “I wonder what xxxx is doing these days? He used to be one of my favourite players.”
That very sentence went through my brain recently when recalling another long-serving, tough tackling City left back of an earlier generation to Drury’s – Greg Downs.
It prompted me to compile a representative A-Z list of some ex-players who graced the yellow and green and have gone on to some of the more unglamorous/out of the limelight roles – some still in the football world but most light years removed from.
Admittedly, some on the list are more legendary than others but they provide an interesting glimpse into what players on the cusp of retirement can consider in their future lives.
If you’ll indulge me, let me share my findings with you with the caution that all details are accurate to the best of my knowledge but circumstances (jobs) may well have changed in some cases. I’ll do this the logical way and start at ‘A’;
A – Alexander Phil (Norwich, 81-83): Chief executive at Crystal Palace.
B – Barham, Mark (80-87): Tool hire company
C – Coney, Dean (89-90): Betting shop manager
D – Downs Greg (76-85): Local rozzer
E – Eadie Darren (93-99): Mustard TV presenter
F – Fleck Robert (87-92/95-98): Teaching assistant
G – Goss Jeremy (83-96): Norfolk & Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) fund raiser.
H – Hansbury Roger (73-81): Greetings card shop owner
I – I… couldn’t find anyone
J – Jack Ross (79-83): Manager of Turriff United (what do you mean you’ve never heard of them?!)
K – Kenton Darren (96-03): Male model
L – Linighan Andy: (88-90): Plumbing business
M – McKenzie Leon (03-06): Boxer, or Mulryne Phil (99-05): Catholic priest (in training)
N – Newsome John (94-96): Prestige car sales business
O – O’Neill Martin (82-83): International football manager
P – Polston John (90-98): Personal trainer
Q – … quite difficult (impossible) to find one
R – Rivers Mark (01-04): Chauffeur service business
S – Sutch Daryl (90-03): Estate agent
T – Townsend Andy (88-90): Much maligned (and rightly so) ITV ‘pundit/commentator’ or
Taylor Alan (79-80/88): Milkman/newsagent/pall-bearer
U – Ullathorne Robert (90-96): Lifestyle management business
V – van Wyck Dennis (82-86): Manager of K.V.C. Westerlo (Belgium)
W – Ward Ashley (94-96): Property development
XYZ – Young Willie (83): Dog kennels owner
… quite an eclectic mix of professions.
One further case worth a mention is that of long-serving defender Tony Powell (74-81). Having not replied to the invite, he missed the club’s centenary celebrations (2002). Somehow rumours began to spread that he was now a woman! After some investigation, it turned out he was still very firmly of the same sex he had always been and was running a hotel in America.
There may well be others of interest you know of which would grace such a list? Please let me know.