Typically, a retired footballer has three routes ahead of them when they hang up their boots.
They can go into management or coaching, which is one of the most popular paths, or try their luck in the cutthroat world of TV or radio punditry. Alternatively, well, they can put their feet up and enjoy their riches for a while.
The avenue from professional footballer to genital light entertainment TV personality is not that well trodden, but it’s a trail being blazed by Gary Lineker as he continues to spread his wings in broadcasting.
The former Tottenham and England striker took the helm of Match of the Day many moons ago, and since then he has largely stuck to football presenting.
But ITV has revealed that Lineker has been handed the reins of their new gameshow, Sitting on a Fortune, which will mark his first foray into non-sports broadcasting.
The format of the show sounds like the usual dire trope – contestants must pick which chair to sit in to have a chance of winning £100,000 – so it will be interesting to see what the jovial Lineker can bring to the party.
Of course, the former striker isn’t the only player that has gone down an unconventional route at the end of their career, with Hollywood acting and royalty-baiting conspiracy theorists just two of the vocations that ex-pros have gone on to try.
So which footballers have gone on to enjoy a TV of film career after their retirement from the beautiful game?
It was a natural progression from goalscorer to goal-shower for Lineker, who got the plum job of hosting the BBC’s football coverage after the stalwart Des Lynam stepped down.
His cheeky chappy persona came across well on the sports quiz They Think It’s All Over, and he has gone on to become one of the BBC’s highest paid presenters.
However, that has not stopped Lineker working for other broadcasters, including Al Jazeera and BT Sport, but the leap to ITV to front a non-football show is something of a surprise.
Lineker has said he thinks viewers will ‘love’ Sitting on a Fortune, so could this be the start of a whole new career for the Leicester man?
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) July 22, 2021
A few former footballers have tried their luck in acting, but none have made quite the inroads of Vinnie Jones.
The former Wimbledon man was the archetypal midfield hard nut back in the 1980s and 90s, once getting booked after five seconds of an English top flight match!
So the adopted Welshman had already carved out a niche for himself, and so it wasn’t a huge surprise when he played something of an enforcer in Guy Richie’s breakthrough film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The duo would work together again in Snatch and Mean Machine, in which Jones dusted off his boots as the captain of a prison football team.
Jones has also appeared in the X-Men franchise, Gone in 60 Seconds and, erm, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties.
With four England caps and stacks of Premier League appearances, Dion Dublin can be proud of a career that saw him win a top-flight league winner’s medal and the Golden Boot in 1997-98.
After playing his final game for Norwich City, Dublin’s life went off on an unusual tangent. He invented The Dube, a percussion box the like of which is popular in South America. He appeared on stage with hairy rockers Ocean Colour Scene in 2011 to show off his instrument.
Still keeping his hand in football through TV and radio work, Dublin has spread his wings on the small screen and is now a co-presenter on daytime show Homes Under the Hammer.
A sort of gateway drug between professional football and life as a TV favourite is the BBC quiz A Question of Sport.
It was a road Emlyn Hughes walked in 1979, when still playing for Liverpool and England he was announced as one of the team captains on the primetime programme.
He would return to the hotseat at the end of his playing career, quickly becoming a nation’s favourite with his Scouse charm and high pitched antics – Hughes once broke Royal protocol when he put his arm around guest Princess Anne, although she didn’t seem to mind too much.
QUESTION OF SPORT AT 50 🎂🍾
Another chance to see the documentary celebrating 50 years of #QuestionofSport
Who can forget Emlyn Hughes with Princess Anne 🤣
— A Question of Sport (@QuestionofSport) August 17, 2020
All in all, Hughes spent five years as a Question of Sport team captain amid other TV work, until his sad death in 2004.
From Coventry City goalkeeper to Grandstand host to international conspiracy theorist.
It’s fair to say that David Icke’s career path has been an unusual one. Four years a youth team prospect at Coventry were followed by a stint at Hereford United, where he established himself as a first-team regular.
But rheumatoid arthritis forced Icke to retire at the young age of 21, leaving him to seek a new career path.
He worked as a sports journalist for a number of years, before becoming a news host at Pebble Mill Studios and working as a reporter for Newsnight.
That led to a plum gig co-hosting Grandstand, the nation’s premier sports programme, and he would continue to work for the BBC until….well, Icke went a bit rogue.
He appeared on Terry Wogan’s chat show dressed in a turquoise shellsuit, claiming the colour gave him positive energy. Icke claimed to be the son of God after experiencing a spiritual awakening in Peru, and suggested to the Irish host that the world was going to end in a blur of earthquakes and tidal waves.
Today, Icke is an author, public speaker and lecturer, believing that time is merely an illusion and that the world’s leaders are actually shape-shifting inter-dimensional reptiles. It’s a long way from keeping clean sheets for Hereford, anyway….