This is the time of year when hundreds of footballers are at the end of their contracts and might not have a future in the game. Some of the older ones will decide voluntarily to retire.
Most players like to think their careers will go on forever. I was one of them, never considering what life after football might be like. It was out of fear really. How do you replace something that’s been your constant from the age of five through to your mid-30s?
Unfortunately, I learned the hard way. I enjoyed the first couple of years after retirement in 2013, playing golf, doing media work and taking family holidays, but what happened afterwards hit me like a sledgehammer.
The realisation I wouldn’t play football again, combined with the loss of most of my savings, left me suffering from depression, something I was in denial about at the time.