Ex-Sunderland trio discuss the issues of retirement in new book

Niall Quinn
Niall Quinn
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Niall Quinn has pointedly raised the issue of a lack of support for players as they struggle to fill the footballing void after hanging up their boots.

On several occasions over recent years, Quinn has urged the PFA to do more to address the issues stemming from retirement after experiencing mental health issues himself when his playing career concluded at Sunderland.

The ex-Sunderland chairman has penned the foreword to a new book, Retired, which chronicles the marital, financial, societal and psychological problems that footballers go through after their playing days conclude.

“Today’s footballers are portrayed as overpaid, spoilt and out of touch, while public sympathy is scarce for those who ‘had it all’ only to lose everything,” writes Quinn.

“But not long into reading Retired a bleak reality unfolds - footballers are a vulnerable breed and need serious help adjusting to the outside world.”

Quinn is not the only ex-Sunderland player retired featured in the book, penned by Irish writer Alan Gernon.

Steve Caldwell reflects on coming to terms with injury ending his career after he failed to recover from a knock suffered while playing for Toronto in the MLS.

“The psychological impact of retiring from the game you love at such a young age is serious and not to be underestimated,” says Caldwell.

“Players can lack direction after they retire.

“They have lived in such a cocoon of unique pressures and support since adolescence.”

Not all footballers struggle to adapt though.

Some like ex-Sunderland defender Jody Craddock forge a successful post-playing career, with the 41-year-old now a renowned artist.

“It was quite a comfortable decision, the right time and it wasn’t a problem to retire,” said Craddock.

“Now I’d like to be seen as an artist who used to play football.”

Retired, by Alan Gernon, is out now by Pitch Publishing, priced at £9.99.