Where are They Now?

January 17, 2019

I always enjoy researching the fate of players who have retired or left Arsenal. So many descend into depression, addiction and financially destitution. This is understandable because for most players the knowledge that the pinnacle of their lives is in the past is too heavy a burden. No more adulation, no more dressing room comraderie, no more endorphin-inducing physical training, no more highs of performing in front of thousands of adoring fans, and there is no way back. The bell has rung for you.

For most people their middle to late 30’s is a time of job advancement or life development. For football players, particularly in the less well paid lower leagues, it is a time to re-start life and for many this is an challenge they struggle to meet.

Damn it …. this is not what I set out to write, this is meant to be a post about Kieron Gibbs!

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Kieron’s career path was a meteoric rise into the Arsenal first team and then an England shirt. Where is he now? West Brom via Norwich City.

Arriving at AFC as 1 5 y.o. his dreams were fulfilled early. An injury, a loss of form, the arrival of Nacho, led to him being given the Spanish Archer (El Bow). It must have been devastating., imagine his thoughts when he walked out of Mr. Wenger’s office. Thankfully, Kieron seems to have adapted to his new life but how must he have felt on his first week at WBA.? And then relegation? From Arsenal captain (when Kos was injured) and the England team to the Championship in just 2 years.

However, compared to, let us say, Abou Diaby, he has been fortunate. Diaby had the potential to be a world superstar but despite his very best efforts injuries took their toll – he is a free agent today.

I heard a podcast with Tony Cotteee talking about his post-football career and his slide into gambling addiction, which thanks to the wonderful Tony Adams Sporting Chance clinic, he has overcome. Tony said, “how in the remainder of his life will he ever re-create the feeling of scoring a goal in front of tens of thousands (and millions at home)”? He won’t, so how does he come to terms with it and find a purpose for the next 50 years? For Cotteee it has been a job in media but few can achieve this, for others it is coaching at club or ground level.

Damn it – I am back to the “what next” theme! Must be the grey skies above.

This could, and perhaps should, have been a post about the off-field shenanigans at Arsenal, or about the effect of Brexit upon the club but I will leave that for next time. Be thankful it is not another post about Mr. Ozil ­čśÇ

written by BR

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