Along with reality television stars and bad politicians, football players have relatively short-lived careers.

While Romario is an obvious exception (the Brazilian striker played into his naughty forties), the average length of a professional football career is eight short years.
Ahh, retirement at thirty-five, that’d be bliss right? Well stop, collaborate and listen! The pros have eight years to earn what we’d slug away in fifty; there’s not much income in the off-season and it’s a bloody catfight out there with shifty consultants and agents looking to invest in the ‘next big thing’.

The sob story continues: you’re in the peak of your career, making waves, turning heads and your wallet ain’t looking so slim anymore. The early morning trainings and Saturday nights seem worth it…until there’s a snap, a crunch, a cry and you’re being wheeled off the field with a green whistle in your mouth, wondering whether that was your last moment on the green.

It’s bloody morbid but it’s the crushing reality for a few super unlucky players. I’ve got freaking goose bumps writing this. It truly isn’t all rainbows and lollipops in football.

Vince Grella

In 2013 the former Melbourne Heart midfielder was forced into retirement after tearing his calf in an A-League comeback against the Wanderers. The Socceroo great made headlines with his torment that it was injury that took him out of the game for good.

David Busst

Way back in 1996, the Coventry City player needed 26 operations and weeks of counselling to repair his tibia and fibula which both cracked in two. The fibula bone pierced the skin, the game was delayed 15 minutes to clean up the blood and the poor bugger never played another professional match. On the plus side, he got to keep his leg amid fears it would have to be amputated.

Archie Thompson

The former Socceroo was nearly a no-go for Victory this season after a damaged medial ligament in his knee nearly ended his career last September. The 37-year-old veteran (and ambassador for our wonderful sponsors Banking on Football) credited his “strong island blood” for his return to the game and with 91 goals under his belt still has it in him to keep the ball rolling.

Kieron Dyer

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The second half of the Englishman’s career had to be jinxed with stints at West Ham, Ipswich and Newcastle United all ending in injury. Ten days into his West Ham debut left the winger with two breaks in his right leg and 17 months out of action from which his form never really recovered.

Luc Nilis

Four minutes into a match against Ipswich Town in September, the Aston Villa striker collided with goalie Richard Wright and copped a double fracture to his knee. The Belgian goalscorer didn’t lose his leg but it did end his playing career.

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A 20 year old Media and Law student trying to tame those stream-of-consciousness writing habits with an ickle bit of fun at the Central Coast Mariners.