Ben Burgess: From footballer to teacher

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Former Blackpool and hull star Ben Burgess has revealed that the transformation from professional footballer to teacher has not been as difficult as first anticipated.

The 34-year-old retired from professional football four years ago and has since become a primary school teacher.

Burgess played for 10 clubs during his 14-year long career but was forced to retire just two months into his two-year contract with Tranmere Rovers due to a reoccurring knee injury.

He admitted that he was always realistic in knowing that his footballing career will not last a lifetime.

“I have sort of had it in my head because of the injuries that I have got when I was 21-years-old that my career was going to come to an end at some point so the ‘gazza’ effect didn’t happen to me,” Burgess said.

“My wife is very sensible and she actually said to me ‘I am not putting up with your sulking once you have finished your football’ so I never had an option.”

The former striker revealed that he wants other players to follow in his footsteps in getting a job outside the world ball world.

He said: “The advice that I would give to footballers now would be to have something else when you finish because a lot of retired pros suffer from depression because the more time you think about something is the more time that you worry,”

“Football is a bubble. Players just think they can be coaches when they finish football and I have got so many friends that have said they are going to be a coach and there are only so many people who can be a coach because there are not a lot of jobs.

“Footballers aren’t as thick as they are portrayed. Coaching qualifications are not particularly hard to get, they are boring but are not hard and that is the problem with footballers trapped in the bubble.

“They finish their career and then spend a year or two trying to be a coach and if you have gone from that lifestyle of earning decent money to having years out of it and then their savings are completely drained.

“70 per cent of footballers get divorced within five years so their lives can fall apart if they do not have a plan and there are so many who don’t have a plan.”

Burgess was most successful at Blackpool, scoring 23 goals in 126 appearances and was a fan favourite at Bloomfield Road.

Even though he is enjoying life in the classroom, he has admitted that he still misses the dressing room antics.

“It is the comradery like going into the changing rooms and having that everyday banter,” Burgess said.

“At school, you can’t stick pictures of other people up above their pegs or anything and if I try and give too much stick to them then I will get some complaints.

“It is that sort of togetherness and working together to achieve something like going to an away game when you’re the underdogs but when you come away with a 1-0 win, there is just no better feeling.

“When I go to football now, I still have it in my head that it hurts but it is the preparation, getting ready for it and going out through the tunnel with your teammates is what I miss.”

By Drew Darbyshire (@DarbySports)

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