5 Reasons Why Fewer Ex-Soccer Players Are Going into Management
Once upon a time, ex-soccer players all had to look for jobs after their playing careers. Most of them tried out for coaching positions, which were few and far between. There was a time when many ex-players started pubs or ran sports shops.
Some of the more academically inclined went back to school or used their education to further their careers, such as ex-Spurs winger Tony Galvin, who ended up teaching high school. (Galvin had received a degree in Russian Studies before he started his playing career.) Danny Thomas, an ex-Spurs and Coventry full back from the '80s, went back to school and became a physiotherapist.
Nowadays, with players getting multimillion dollar contracts, things have changed considerably and fewer ex-pros are choosing to go into coaching and management. Here are some of the reasons why.
As I mentioned earlier, money from big contracts and endorsement deals has changed players' views on the game.
If players handle their affairs properly, they should have gathered enough money to live fairly comfortably for the rest of their lives when they retire.
That's providing they don't make bad investments or get hit by a divorce or two and this has been known to happen. Nowadays, players simply don't need the money provided by a coaching job.
The modern-day soccer player is akin to a rock star. Tons of money, groupies, private jets and sports cars. These are all part of top-level players' lifestyles.
I think it's hard to give all that up and spend nights and weekends watching low-level players in the freezing rain. I know David Beckham has said that he has no interest in management, but has expressed interest in owning a stake in a team.
Becks is not likely to give up his Hollywood lifestyle to watch Southend on a cold, wet Wednesday night.
With the explosion of new arms of the media and growth of the game, there are more openings for telegenic ex-pros willing to give their opinions.
If you look at the bios of many ex-pros, you can see a large chunk of them have gone into punditry. The pay is pretty good and it can lead to other TV gigs. Also, there is less stress when you are on the other end of the microphone.
After decades in the spotlight, many ex-pros are happy to take a backseat to the pressures of the soccer world. So ironically, although players often complain about the press, many of them turn to the media for jobs once they stop playing.
About 30 years ago, very few coaches had credentials and no one asked for them. Your credentials were your results; develop a winning team and that was good enough for the fans and the club directors.
Franz Beckenbauer was famously appointed manager of the German National Team without any credentials and he got them to two World Cup finals, winning the trophy in 1990. (He was later awarded an honorary license.)
Today, players have to go through several months of credentials to get their coaching badges. One more reason for soccer players, who were never known for their academic prowess, to avoid management.
Lack of Job Security
Modern-day managers have to contend with interfering board members, money-hungry players, fame-hungry WAGs, agents, obsessed fans and a 24-hour media.
And they could also be fired at the drop of a hat.
If you want a long-term job, then football management is not your gig. This is one of the reasons why ex-Real Madrid and Liverpool player, Steve McManaman, expressed reluctance about returning to the game as a manager.
Many ex-pros look at the fates of their old bosses and often opt for a different line of work. And in today's world, there are many other lucrative options.