Sometimes I Think Footballers Should Be Forced To Retire At 25

Wouldn’t that be something?

There are times these days when I can’t shake the feeling of just how ridiculous it is that I’m watching grown men kick a ball around; grown men who are worshipped by other grown men because they wear a shirt that carries the crest of an institution that they have decided is a fundamental part of the fabric of their very being; grown men who are rewarded so handsomely for their, (and lets be honest) for the most part sub-standard performances, that it would appear to be some kind of cosmic joke.

In my circle of friends there are teachers, nurses, office workers and even the odd writer, and put all of our collective monthly wages together and it would still be dwarfed by what Yaya Toure earns in a week; for reference, Yaya Toure is a 31 year old man who kicks a ball for a living. A cosmic joke indeed.

But what if they were forced to retire at 25? I mean, if you break into your clubs first team at around the age of 18, that’s still a good 7 years of being a professional footballer, and if you’re that good at it the wages on offer would still be fantastic.

Of course something like this would never happen and there are probably a million counter arguments against it, and here’s the thing – I still love football, just not enough to fully get behind say, Wayne Rooney, a 28 year old who should really be doing something else with his time.

Admittedly it’s the amount of money in football that is the driving force behind this little diatribe but look, I get it, I understand the sacrifices that are made to make it to the very top, and who doesn’t love a story about a young kid who seemingly had no prospects making it big.

I love that sport provides the kind of narratives like, to pick an example from today, Nathaniel Clyne (and by the way article in the link is fantastic and as a South Londoner I can’t deny it fills me with pride.) I honestly don’t begrudge the fame and the fortune – up to a point.

As a Tottenham fan I was lucky enough to witness Gareth Bale blossom into what would become the most expensive footballer in the world and, because this is what sport does to you, I just feel so damn happy whenever he does well. I can’t deny the emotions that are stirred within me watching football, but now that’s he there, do I also hate the fact that he’ll probably be earning gargantuan amounts of money into his thirties? You’re Goddamn Right!

But if he, and every other player was forced to retire at 25, it really would be a case of ‘go on son, earn everything you can because it really is a short career’. Every trophy won would be sweeter,  they’d always be another kid around the corner, the average age of teams would come tumbling down and, it would just be easier to be a supporter again because you’d be watching people who should be out there, and not Steven Gerrard, a bloody 34 year old who earns over £100k a week for once again, kicking a ball around.

Well that’s it, nothing else to see here, that’s my pie in the sky idea done for the day.


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