The importance of investing in yourself as a professional football player

Just read these real life situations of where life has taken a turn for the worse for these former players…

In 2014 a study by the Professional Players’ Federation found footballers are three times more likely to have gambling issues than the average population – Source

Eidur Gudjohnsen said he lost £400,000 over five months after boredom crept in following an injury – Source

Dean Windass – Former Hull City Striker declared bankrupcy following HMRC tax bills of £164,000 based on an investment he made which never paid him a penny – Source

Rio Ferdinand, Andy Cole, Robbie Savage, Martin Keown and Danny Murphy were also rumored to have invested in investments schemes by Kingsbridge Asset Management which earned millions in commissions before turning sour — Source

A footballer who played for three of the game’s biggest clubs sobs after learning he’ll soon be made bankrupt. The chairman of a Premier League outfit sighs, before granting his captain an advance on his wages for the last time following another costly defeat at the roulette table. Inside a court, a player pleads with a judge to reduce his child maintenance payments after frittering away his fortune. – Source – 

More than a quarter of professional footballers suffer from depression or anxiety problems, according to a new study carried out by the international players’ union FIFPro. The research showed that 26 per cent of players reported the mental health problems with that figure rising to 39 per cent among retired players. – Source

What is happening! Why does such a brilliant opportunity, to play football and be paid handsomely for it, create so much pain and self-abuse?

Quite simply there is a reason and I’ll explain it the best I can.

Football gives players an identity. It gives them a sense of purpose and self-worth and confidence and can bring plenty of extrinsic rewards.

Some football players falsely assume extrinsic rewards will help them meet their needs. The more money, followers and attention they have, the more their needs are met.


Football, falsely gives players a solution to their needs.

People go wrong when they try to get external things like money to meet their intrinsic needs.

Some footballers wrongly assume if their extrinsic needs are met, this equates to happiness and fulfilment.

But in reality it’s their intrinsic needs that need to be addresses first and this is where the gap in development sits.


If a player’s self-confidence and self-worth is at a low, or they are in unfamiliar territory, their intrinsic needs aren’t being met. They turn to extrinsic factors to help them deal with the imbalance. Gambling, drink, spending money on expensive toys, etc.

These actions only hinder and drag down the player, not just mentally but in performance.

Sooner or later they will crash and burn.

Their identity as a football player will be and can be lost in an instance!

And this isn’t right and it doesn’t sit right with me.

Being involved in sports, I knew of a player that committed suicide and also spoken to people in sports who know of players that have suffered and are suffering.

Life is about giving back to those who can benefit from your knowledge and through giving back, some of your intrinsic needs are met.

Some players set up foundations and trusts as did Jamie Carragher and his charity is doing great things. Find out more here

The service I established helps professional football players understand and improve their value and performance so they can maximise their revenue while they are playing but also plan ahead for the future, therefore tackling the two main issues around football today.

If you would like to know more about what and how I help footballers, please get in touch.

Take it easy


By Mike Nichols

when the person thrives, the professional thrives

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