Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
The fate today’s Swansea footballers would never have to endure
Monday, 29th Apr 2024 12:41 by Keith Haynes

Swansea City bring this season to a close on Saturday with a home game against Millwall. However, what about those bygone days when footballers had no choice but to go down the pit after their career ended, or open a toy shop, pub or retrain ? That thought would petrify todays modern footballer.

It’s odd, footballers now have an expectation that when they finish their careers, and I include the championship here that they will be secure for life. Proper investment of their earnings is what many do, Swansea City’s Liam Cullen has some properties, a great example of forward planning and others in the squad have done the same. Yes, there will always be the odd player who doesn’t have the foresight or get the correct advice on what to do with their cash, but today is so different to the past.

Swans great, Ivor Allchurch had to continue working after he retired from football, he became a storeman in Swansea. Brayley Reynolds who was top scorer with twenty five goals for the Swans in the 1963/64 season retired from football and went to work down the pit at Penallta Colliery, Hengoed. Today’s well fed footballer, even if you don’t see too far ahead has every opportunity to avoid a future of crisis post football management. In recent times Craig Bellamy has bucked the trend owing nearly £1,500,000 to the inland revenue. He continues in football as a very well paid coach at Burnley on a very good salary. Townhill boy, Trevor Ford started his career after school at a local Swansea blast furnace. He went on to play at the top of the game for Sunderland and Aston Villa, he even went to PSV in the Netherlands and played for Wales on thirty eight occasions, scoring twenty three goals. Upon retirement he traded in cars across south Wales.

Sammy McCrory, he scored a goal every other game for the Swans between 1946 and 1949. He had a solid career until the sixties. Upon retirement he ran a pub in Northern Ireland. Nowadays it’s big investment in to nightclubs and venues that interest today’s footballers. They won’t be seen getting their hands dirty either. Their money has ensured a life of delegation, back then it was a case of do or be damned.

Remember Steve Watkin, the Wrexham born forward who was at the Swans at the turn of the century ? He qualified as an accountant after his career finished. He played over two hundred games for both Wrexham and Swansea City. Even Danny Graham went self employed as a mentor to young players before showing them what not to do when he crashed his Land Rover. He was three times over the drink driving limit. Banned for two years he was forced to wear a tag to monitor his location regards drinking.

Swansea born Welsh football great, John Charles hit the very top of the game for Leeds United and Juventus. After his career ended he found the glare of the public slowly disappear in to very hard times and ended up in assisted accommodation in Leeds. Before that he ran a clothes shop, pub and a toy shop. If ever there is a sign of those times compared to now it’s John Charles. Once revered as the best footballer in the world. Football has changed immensely and you get the feeling that it’s on the cusp of more change in the coming year or so. His widow bequeathed his ashes to the city of Swansea.

There’s bad news football stories everywhere, even today. However, these are newsworthy because of the player and their squandering of money, not having to revert to other forms of employment after their careers end. Football was once seen as a small part of a players income whilst they worked in another employment. Swans born footballers, Trevor Ford, Cliff Jones, Ivor and Len Allchurch, Jack Kelsey and John Charles brother Mel all traded their skills elsewhere when the game ended for them. Kelsey, a goalkeeper earned a place on Arsenal’s back room staff after retiring in 1963, he played for the Gunners over three hundred times. Kelsey was injured badly diving at the feet of an opponent in 1962, that ended his career. He had an insurance payment of £5,000 (£50,000 today) and worked for the rest of his life.

It’s a revealing part of football history, and one today’s modern player needs to be aware of.

Photographs National Archive

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

You need to login in order to post your comments

Swansea City Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© FansNetwork 2024