Today – and throughout the last decade for that matter – it’s inconceivable that any PL player would need to work a regular job when they’re done with the game. PL players are amongst the most well-paid athletes in the world, so provided they do some financial planning, they’ll have a nice little nest egg off of which they’ll be able to live comfortably when they hang up their boots. There’s no need to work a regular job and for a lot of these ex-pros and there’s no desire to either; it can be hard transitioning from the life of a pro athlete to working 9-5 and donning a suit and tie in an office job for example.
We’ve said a lot of these ex PL players would’ve had no desire to work a regular job. But back in the day, a lot of these players didn’t enjoy the riches that today’s stars come to expect. Some, therefore, had to find work when their playing days were over out of sheer necessity, whereas others did so because they wanted to pursue other interests and keep themselves busy.
Whatever their reasons may be, these are 15 ex PL pros who worked regular jobs when they retired.
15 Lee Bowyer
Lee Bowyer was once upon a time quite a well-known name in the PL. He spent his entire career in the English leagues – a career notable for his time with Leeds United, with whom he made 265 appearances. He then had a brief spell with West Ham, which coincided with him getting his one and only international cap for England.
14 Ray Wilson
Ray Wilson’s famous for being a part of the England 1966 World Cup winning team. He played at left-back, making 409 appearances with English teams, and was definitely one of the most underrated players in the England set up. He actually gained most of his recognition once his playing days were over; the media launched a campaign to get his services to football recognized, and he subsequently received an MBE.
13 Arjan de Zeeuw
Dutchman Arjan began his career in the Dutch amateur leagues before making the move to England and spending the majority of the remainder of his career playing in the PL. Arjan had spells in the PL with Barnsley, Wigan and Portsmouth, and was a solid centre-back, renowned for his professionalism and conduct on the pitch.
12 John Chiedozie
Born in Nigeria, John Chiedozie moved to England as a teenager and began his career in English football as an apprentice. He quickly made it through to the first team with Leyton Orient and went on to have a very long and successful career in English football. He spent his entire career playing for English clubs and made a few international appearances too. A decade after he hung up his boots, his performances and contribution to football and Nigerian football were recognized by the President of Nigeria, who bestowed upon him the title of Officer of the Order of Niger.
11 Ramon Vega
Former Swiss international and central defender Ramon Vega is another guy who got himself an education before embarking on a pro football career. He got a degree in banking and financing at the Zürich Business School before starting his career with Grasshopper Club Zürich. Seven years later, he made the move to the UK, where he played for Spurs in the PL.
10 Barry Horne
9 9. Simon Garner
Simon used to be a hero at Blackburn Rovers. He’s the club's all-time top goalscorer and netted for fun from 1978-1992. But Simon fell into the trap of thinking that he was set for life. Before he knew it, his career had passed him by; he was 36 and it was time to retire, but Simon had no clue what to do next. He spent a period behind bars, then got a job selling mortgages, then became a postman, but couldn't cut it as he had a tough time dealing with having to be at work so early.
8 Ken Monkou
Dutch centre-back Ken Monkou had spells in the top flight of English football with Chelsea and Southampton. He put together a string of impressive performances for Chelsea and was voted Player of the Year for Chelsea in his first season with The Blues. In 1992, he had just signed a five-year contract to keep him in South West London, but the offer made by Southampton was too good for any party to refuse, and he was soon on his way to The Saints. After helping them stay afloat in the PL by the skin of their teeth several times, Ken had a brief spell at Huddersfield Town before calling time on his playing career.
7 Julian Dicks
6 Tomas Brolin
Swedish international Tomas Brolin had spells in the PL with Leeds and Crystal Palace in the 1990s, and had a decent time of it too, playing as a striker/attacking midfielder. Strangely, he closed out his footballing career in Sweden with Hudiksvalls FF, as a goalkeeper no less. In his prime, Brolin was one of the top footballers around, but today he’s making waves in the business world.
5 Gavin Peacock
Gavin Peacock was a notable name in English football during the '80s and '90s. He’ll mainly be remembered for his time in the PL with Newcastle and Chelsea, but he also had numerous stints with teams in the Football League. After retiring in 2001, Peacock remained in football as a pundit, appearing on TV shows and hosting radio podcasts.
4 Philippe Albert
Philippe Albert was a world-renowned international in his heyday. He impressed at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the U.S. with Belgium, which led to plenty of interest from teams around the world that were eager to acquire his services. Albert chose to come to the PL with Newcastle and it turned out to be a good decision. He took no time to settle in and was an instant hit at St James' Park, but injuries eventually got the better of him and curtailed his career, forcing him to retire in 2000.
3 Shaun Goater
Striker Shaun Goater played for a number of prominent clubs during the course of his career. He came to the UK as a youngster and was thrust onto the big stage with none other than Man United. The goals then started coming for Shaun at Rotherham before Man City acquired his services. It was here where he became one of the best strikers around, as he went about amassing 103 goals in 212 appearances.
2 Stuart Ripley
Ripley spent his entire career playing in the English leagues and even earned a couple of England caps too. He became somewhat of a hero with Middlesbrough where he played on the wing, and with Blackburn Rovers, with whom he won the PL in 1995. He also played in the top flight of English football with Southampton before closing out his career in the Football League.
1 David Hillier
Hillier played in the English leagues as a midfielder for 15 years, his most notable spell being in the PL with Arsenal. He was with The Gunners for eight years, but eventually fell out of favor with the club after a string of misdemeanors and off-field incidents somewhat sullied his name. He won a ton of accolades with Arsenal, but his footballing career eventually fizzled out with Barnet when he was let go.
Hillier needed to work, as he realized he couldn’t live off his earnings from football forever. His wife heard a radio ad whereby the local services were looking to recruit firefighters. He decided to give it a go, failed, but tried, tried and tried again, and eventually got the news he was hoping for at the fourth interview. Today, Hillier’s a qualified firefighter, putting fires out in and around Bristol, but is still involved in football doing some commentating and media work.
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