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    Chelsea legend Pat Nevin is now a hipster DJ playing at a club night in trendy East London

    HE used to be famed for leaving defenders in a spin, so what Pat Nevin did after football must’ve come natural.The Chelsea and Everton legend, who bamboozled all with his tricky wing play in the 80s and 90s is now a DJ playing for hipster crowds in London.
    Pat Nevin is now a part-time DJ
    Nevin, 59, previously had a regular spot playing at The Victoria in Dalston at a trendy club night called Scared to Dance, which was previously at the Shacklewell Arms.
    He also appeared at the 2015 Shiiine On Weekender festival alongside the likes of Happy Mondays playing tracks by indie artists including The Smiths, Pulp and New Order.
    And he recently revealed to his Twitter followers that he is returning to the decks, writing: Just a quick heads up to say I’m DJing for the first time in ages on the 21st of January at the Shacklewell in Dalston. Pop in if your (sic) around and feel free to have a chat too!”
    Busy Nevin previously managed to juggle his new career alongside his football commitments, working as a pundit for BBC Radio 5 Live.
    He revealed how he first caught the music bug.
    Nevin said: “I’ve been DJing for years and years. Forever really. I come from Glasgow, and before I left it was a hotbed of music,” he told the Noisey.
    “The whole Postcard Records thing was blowing up, and things were really happening. I had been listening to John Peel since I was 14, every night lying on my bed with headphones on.
    “I was just a muso, that’s all I was. Eventually I started DJing. Even when I was playing football for Chelsea I was doing it.
    The EX Chelsea player plays at a club night in trendy East LondonCredit: Instagram
    Nevin’s name appears on the flyer for Scared to Dance, which was formerly at The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston, East LondonCredit: Instagram
    His setlist features bands including New Order, Pulp and The SmithsCredit: Instagram
    Nevin has played alongside established names like Happy Mondays and Stereo MC’sCredit: Handout
    He manages to juggle a DJ career alongside being a football punditCredit: Reuters
    “I’m asked loads now, and can only accept about 1 in 5 of the offers I get.”
    Having often performed DJ sets over the weekend, it wasn’t uncommon for Nevin to be playing until the early hours and then heading to a football match to work for the BBC.
    “It is totally and utterly mental,” he laughed. “None of it fits together. I’m knackered.”
    When he was a player at Chelsea in the mid 80s, Nevin wrote a music column in the club newspaper. One day he sent a letter to the late DJ John Peel asking him for an interview.
    While at Chelsea, Nevin had his own music columnCredit: Instagram
    He once wrote to BBC DJ John Peel for an interviewCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Nevin later scored himself a secret production job on Peel’s BBC Radio showCredit: Instagram
    “Although, when you are playing football you can’t be spinning tunes until 3am in the morning, because you have to take care of yourself a wee bit.
    Not only did he get an interview, he also scored himself a production job alongside his football career.
    “We became great mates,” he revealed. “I used to sit in on his show quite a bit, making production notes.”
    “But they never really mentioned that I was hanging about. You’d think people would comment on there being a famous footballer there but nobody knew, and that was the way I liked it.”
    And Nevin confessed he once asked to be subbed at half-time during a game so he could catch a gig by his favourite band, Cocteau Twins.
    At Chelsea, Nevin was a fan favouriteCredit: Getty – Contributor
    But when the winger was playing for the Blues, he asked if he could be subbed so he could get to a gig on timeCredit: Hulton Archive – Getty
    Nevin admitted he loved travelling around Europe seeing bandsCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Nevin has enjoyed life since hanging up his boots in 2000Credit: Les Gallagher – The Sun Glasgow
    “It was pre-season at Chelsea and I said, ‘I will sign your contract if you take me off at half time next Friday night because they’re playing Festival Hall.’
    “I was quite adamant, and the manager agreed to it. ‘You’re off your head, but fine.’
    “We weren’t flashy back then, but we did train near Heathrow so sometimes I would hit a gig on a weeknight – get a last minute ticket and fly off somewhere.
    “So it might be a gig in France, Berlin, Scotland. I would stay in a crap hotel, fly back the next day for training. Nobody was any the wiser.” More

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    I won the title with Arsenal in 1991… and then went on to become a firefighter and save lives

    DAVID HILLIER was climbing a ladder to success when he won a top-flight league winners medal with Arsenal in 1990-91, and made one appearance for the England Under-21s.A quarter of a century later the former midfielder was climbing different ladders – as one of our brave firefighters based at Avon Fire & Rescue in Bristol.
    Arsenal hero David Hillier became a firefighter after quitting footballCredit: Supplied
    A boyhood Arsenal fan, the aspiring midfielder was fulfilling his dreams by helping his beloved Gunners to glory in the early 90s.
    Sadly, his career was blighted by injury that forced him out of the club’s FA and League Cup successes in 1993 and the Cup Winners’ Cup victory over Parma the following year.
    He later joined Portsmouth (1996-99) and Bristol Rovers (1999-2002) before ending his career at Barnet with just six appearances in 2003.
    Hillier told SunSport in 2019: “I never set targets when I was playing.
    “I now look back at my 15 years in the game and I am very proud that I played for some great clubs at some of the world’s great stadiums alongside some of the great players.
    “What is so wonderful is I still enjoy media work with Arsenal and go back and have a wonderful rapport with the club and the supporters. The football ‘family’ is brilliant for that.”

    He revealed that it was his wife, Zoe, who suggested a new life in the fire brigade a couple of years after he quit playing in 2003.
    He said: “We were out shopping one day and we passed a fire station and she said that it would be the perfect job for me.
    “Ian Holloway – who I played alongside at Bristol Rovers – also has something to do with it. Olly’s brother-in-law was a fireman and we had met and talked about the fire brigade.
    “Now he is one of the bosses in the service.
    “Because of my football career I joined the brigade late and when I started it was a bit like students tutoring the teaching because everyone seemed younger than me.
    “But I have never had a problem with that. I was aware of what I needed to do to progress.
    Hillier achieved his dream, playing for his boyhood clubCredit: PA:Empics Sport
    In 1991 Hillier won the First Division with the GunnersCredit: Rex Features
    “The fire brigade suits me because I’m on a two or more pump station which means 8-12 of us are involved and we spend two days and two nights away – which is like a football team staying in a hotel before a game.”
    The down-to-earth London-born ex-midfield ace says the adrenaline-rush of a big job is on a completely different scale to playing football.
    “It can be incredibly difficult at times and it’s a job where you have to deal with tricky and horrific scenarios.
    “We are confronted with all sorts of scenes and the most frustrating part is not being able to do more.
    “Being forced back by smoke and not knowing where you are going can be very claustrophobic. But, yes, I have also rescued cats out of trees too!”
    Yet even after 15 years in the service, the ex-Gunner says: “It’s strange but when it comes to footballer or fireman I always think of myself as a footballer.”
    Hillier still has ties at Arsenal, doing media work for the clubCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Occasionally, Hillier plays for Arsenal’s legends’ sideCredit: Getty – Contributor More

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    Former West Ham and Liverpool star Paul Konchesky now runs a pie and mash cafe after hanging up his boots

    WHEN planning for a life after football, maybe it’s best to think with your stomach rather than your head.That’s what ex-Charlton, West Ham and Liverpool star Paul Konchesky, now 41, did when he took over a cafe in Brentwood, Essex in 2015.
    Paul Konchesky now runs his own pie and mash cafeCredit: Splash News
    Former Charlton left-back Konchesky opened Konch’s Kafe in 2015 in Essex
    The former Premier League left-back renamed the site Konch’s Kafe, and started selling traditional East End grub like pie and mash and hasn’t looked back since.
    And making sure he’s keeping it in the family, Konchesky has got his mum Carol in to run her son’s operation.
    An experienced chef, she used to cook in the kitchen of the Royal Oak pub in Essex.
    Pie and mash is something that reminds the two-cap England international of his youth days as a trainee with the Addicks, even if his food-intake wasn’t quite fitting for a wannabe pro footballer.
    Konchesky told the Daily Mail: “There was this pie-and-mash shop next to our school in Dagenham.
    “Every Tuesday we’d all have mash and liquor for a pound in a takeaway cup.
    “Every Friday it’d be proper pie, mash and liquor, with jellied eels. And a cream soda. Without fail.
    “I used to be a right dumpling with a big fat face. I was quite tubby when I had my first fitness test at Charlton.
    “I was in the first team at 16 with John Robinson and that, getting crates of beer on to the team bus. And on the way home we’d stop for fish and chips.”
    Konch’s Kafe has been a big success for Konchesky since he retiredCredit: Rex Features

    Now a picture of health, and even completing the London Marathon in three hours 51 minutes after hanging up his boots, Konchesky resists the temptation of chowing down on pies.
    But he often pops in and greets customers, who love to quiz him about his football career.
    Occasionally, he’ll chip in in the kitchen, making teas and coffees for his clientele too.
    The menu at Konch’s Kafe is vast, and offers everything you’ll need for a decent price.
    Cockney favourites – pie ‘n’ mash start at a reasonable £3.90, while if you want to add some jellied eels to the dish with a bit of liquor, you’ll pay £6.40.
    But if you don’t fancy that, there’s breakfast options, including the Mega Feast with two eggs, sausage, two bacon, black pudding, mushrooms, chips, beans or tomatoes for £6.25.
    For lunch, there are jacket potatoes and various sandwiches, and recent specials have included beef stew with dumpling and creamy potato for just £4.75, as well as a chicken curry with rice and naan for a fiver.
    However, it’s the pie and mash that’s getting customers through the door and keeping them happy.
    A boyhood West Ham fan, Konchesky fell in love with the Hammers and that East End delicacy thanks to his grandfather, who settled in England from Poland during World War II.
    The menu at Konch’s Kafe offers everything you’ll want
    A beef stew was recently on the special’s board at Konch’s Kafe

    And anyone who visits Konch’s Kafe will be taken by their surroundings – framed shirts from various opponents Konchesky has faced during his action-packed career.
    A West Ham No 3 shirt with his name on takes centre stage, there’s a signed sketch featuring his hero Julian Dicks, a signed England shirt, as well as a photo of tough defender taking on Teddy Sheringham.
    “I’ve always collected shirts: Henry, Vieira, Gazza, Ravanelli, Ronaldo, Scholes,” he said.
    “I’ve got an England shirt from John Barnes, who gave it to me when we were together at Charlton.
    “He signed it, ‘Remember me when you’re famous’. They’re all dirty. I’ve never washed any of them.”
    Clearly with his fingers in many pies, you’ll be thankful that Konchesky’s hands aren’t as dirty as his shirts when you pop in for your next pie fix.
    You won’t be surprised to know that it’s scored five out of five on TripAdvisor’s site t he time of writing.
    Mandy R wrote: “Love this cafe not just because of the pie and mash but all the food is yummy and the staff are always helpful and a good laugh. They look after everyone, no ones ever alone at Konchs.”
    While Samuel A declared: “Very nice staff, very nice atmosphere with the pictures on the walls of ex west ham players and football history! The pies are a must! superb value!”
    And wendybrooks07 called Konch’s ‘best pie and mash in Brentwood’, adding: “Traditional Pie and Mash and liquor is just great from here – delicous and worth trying – my favourite.”
    On TripAdvisor Konch’s Kafe has scored 5 star reviews
    Jamie Redknapp and Mark Noble tuck into some grub at Konch’s KafeCredit: Rex Features
    Paul Konchesky’s love of pie and mash stemmed from his Polish grandfather who emigrated to the East End during World War II
    You won’t be disappointed with your meal at Konch’s Kafe
    Konchesky’s last Premier League club was Leicester City in 2015Credit: Phil Shephard-Lewis – The Sun More

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    Juventus legend Del Piero’s amazing LA life rubbing shoulders with Johnny Depp and living in a Bel Air mansion

    WHAT a life!Alessandro Del Piero, now 47, holds legendary status in Italy as a member of the Azzuri’s 2006 World Cup-winning squad.
    Alessandro Del Piero now lives in Los Angeles since retiring from the game
    He also won multiple titles with Juventus, including six Serie A championships and the Champions League in 1996.
    But, after all that hard work, Del Piero is now happily living a life of luxury in Los Angeles.
    ‘Pinturicchio’, as he was affectionately nicknamed by former Juve owner Gianni Agnelli, today rubs shoulders with A-list Hollywood stars.
    In 2018, he splashed £4.7m on a luxurious home in Bel Air and lives near Jack Nicholson, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez and Rod Stewart.
    He also opened a trendy Italian restaurant in West Hollywood called No.10, where he can often be found propping up the bar.
    And in 2019, United Premier Soccer League team LA10 FC proudly revealed that Del Piero has been their secret investor.
    If that’s not enough, he has three football academies in the States – two in LA, one in New York.
    Del Piero clearly loves hanging with the elite, and LA is just the place to do that.
    ‘Alex’ is in his element when he’s posing with new pals like Julia Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Depp and Dita Von Teese.
    In Hollywood, Del Piero is making friends in high places like Johnny Depp
    Julia Roberts has also posed for a snap with starstruck Del PieroCredit:
    Burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese visited Del Piero’s restaurant No.10Credit:

    Del Piero lives in a modern 5,300-square-foot mansion that sits on a hill and has views of the ocean, rolling hills and the Getty Museum.
    It’s got five bedrooms, six bathrooms and when you enter the property you walk into a hall that has a 20-foot high ceiling.
    There’s a dining room with a chandelier hanging from the top, a family room, a cinema room and private balcony joined to the master suite.
    Outside, you have a luscious garden, as well as a pool and a spa.
    The condo was on the market for four months before Del Piero managed to snap it up for £4.7m, £150k cheaper than its listed price.
    While it wasn’t a bargain, it’s certainly a plush house in keeping with Del Piero’s new found friends.
    He also often posts snaps of his wife Sonia and their children Dorotea, Tobias, and Sasha on Instagram enjoying relaxing by the pool.
    If you lived there, wouldn’t you?
    Del Piero’s Bel Air mansion is fit for a kingCredit:
    Del Piero splashed £4.7m on the five bedroom, six bathroom homeCredit:
    The stunning house has a pool and a jacuzziCredit:
    The master suite has its own balconyCredit:
    With food prepped by chef Fabio Ugoletti, former executive chef at Michelin star restaurant Al Gallopapa, Del Piero’s No. 10 restaurant on Third Street in West Hollywood provides brilliant Italian grub.
    On the menu, there’s the ‘Pizza N10’ special that has stracciatella cheese and fresh shaved white truffle, which will set you back a whopping £75.
    The pasta and risotto dishes, including a ravioli with butternut squash, sausage and porcini and a gnocchi with mussels, clams, shrimp, broccoli and chilli flakes will make your mouth water.
    The pasta dishes are priced competitively at around £15-£18.
    While the veal Milanese (£38) and a bone-in rib eye (£54) will satisfy meat-eaters, even if they have a heftier price tag.
    Alternatively, you could pop in during happy hour and score yourself some appetisers for half price.
    You may even see Del Piero sat at the bar, he has been known to greet customers as they walk through the doors of No. 10.
    And in the past year he’s been visited by his footballing mates, including former teammate Edgar Davids and Ajax legend Patrick Kluivert.
    No.10 has become a West Hollywood staple since its opening last yearCredit:
    Former Juventus teammate Edgar Davids has dropped in to see Del PieroCredit:
    While Patrick Kluivert also enjoyed a meal at No.10Credit:
    LA10 FC
    Three years ago, Del Piero was revealed as the secret co-owner of United Premier Soccer League team, LA10 FC.
    The team, who play in black and white, were actually taken over by Juve icon and businessman Jeffrey Whalen in a private takeover.
    “To me football is linked to pure passion. After all, this is what I’ve always wanted, to own a small football team. To feel the passion,” Del Piero confirmed on his website at the time.
    “At the end of last summer I decided to become an owner of a small football team based in Los Angeles, in partnership with EDGE Americas Sports, of which I am a co-founder, and my business partner, Jeffrey Whalen.
    “This adventure won me over immediately and today I’m officially revealing this exciting news for the first time. The team is called LA10 FC, our colours are black & white.”
    And Del Piero’s glittering career and success has robbed off on his team with LA10 FC finishing first in their league, earning promotion to a division just below the American second division.
    “After a period of anonymity, I decided to share this beautiful experience and give credit to the entire team for the amazing results they’ve achieved,” Del Piero added.
    “A big thank you goes to the technical staff, the management and all the players.
    In 2018, Del Piero was named as the secret co-owner of LA10 FCCredit: Getty – Contributor

    “Now we are returning to the pitch for the spring season.
    “Conquering the first success as an owner has had a special, different, new and fun feel.
    “I like it because it brings me back to when everything was just a game.”
    Ensuring he maintains his football status, Del Piero’s expertise on the football field lives on through ADP10 Soccer Academies.
    The all-time leading appearance maker and goalscorer for the Turin giants has two schools in LA and one in New York.
    For boys and girls aged between six and 16, ADP10 offers European style football training and a program designed by Del Piero himself, and carried out by Italian coaches he’s selected to work in the US with him.
    A three-day clinic costs around £320 per child, while there’s a three-month development program for around £380.
    And yes, Del Piero likes to get out on the field too to pass on his tips to the youngsters when he’s not busy.
    Since hanging up his boots in 2014, Del Piero has extended his business interests beyond footballCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Now a restaurateur, football club owner and soccer academy boss, Del Piero is living a charmed existenceCredit: More

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    How Man Utd’s ex-Chinese starlet Dong Fangzhuo went from next big thing at Old Trafford to reality TV facelift freak

    WHEN Chinese starlet Dong Fangzhuo signed for Man United in 2004 for a potential fee of £3.5 million big things were expected.He was the first East Asian player to move to Old Trafford and Sir Alex Ferguson believed he had the “speed and physicality” to make it in the Premier League, calling the forward an “explosive” talent.
    Dong Fangzhuo was supposed to be the next big thing at Man United
    However, a spectacular fall from grace culminated in Fangzhuo appearing on a Chinese reality TV show undergoing plastic surgery
    But after a failing to live up to his promise, even after former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo tried to help him revive his career in Portugal, he ended up on football’s scrapheap.
    In 2015, at the age of just 29, Fangzhuo was without a club and was struggling to stay fit.
    Overweight, he appeared on a Chinese TV show where he underwent plastic surgery on his jowly face.
    Now 37, Fangzhuo’s story is one of a rapid rise, followed by a swift decline that resulted in a devastating anticlimax.
    At 18, Fangzhuo was identified by United’s scouts as one for the future and was immediately snapped up from Dalian Shide, the most successful club team in China.
    “He went straight into the reserves and was tipped to do big things,” former United under-18s coach Paul McGuinness told Bleacher Report.
    “He was a strong player—really strong. That is what struck us, that a player from Asia would have that level of strength.”
    But there was one problem. Because he hadn’t played for China’s national side, he had no chance of getting a work permit and getting first team action.
    Desperate to blood Fangzhuo, United immediately arranged a loan deal with Belgian club Royal Antwerp.
    Fangzhuo signed for Man United in 2007 for £500k, a fee that could’ve risen to £3.5m depending on appearancesCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Sir Alex Ferguson believed in Fangzhuo and admired his strength and paceCredit: Getty – Contributor
    China prodigy Fangzhuo was soon loaned out to Royal Antwerp because he couldn’t receive a work permit to play in EnglandCredit: Reuters
    They were a feeder club for the English giants, and at the time Belgium had relaxed laws allowing young non-European players the opportunity to play without any complicated paperwork getting in the way.
    “It wasn’t the same as just sending players out on loan – we had guys there working for us,” McGuinness said.
    He was a strong player—really strong. That is what struck us, that a player from Asia would have that level of strength.”Paul McGuinness, former Man United youth coach
    “Warren Joyce and Andy Welsh were there for anything for the players. The fans there were fanatical, and that would have been a tremendous experience for any young lad.
    “The Belgium league had a real mix of players from all over the world – great for someone like Dong, who felt like a real alien in Manchester.”
    From the offset, Fangzhuo’s raw skills impressed his new coaches in training.
    And even if he did get off to a slow start, scoring just once in his first nine games, it was obvious that he had the ability to make the grade.
    Former Antwerp coach Regi Van Acker revealed: “He was a great player. Very strong, quite tall, very fast, and when he shot at goal, it was like a bomb – so powerful.
    “He did everything we asked of him in training and did extra personal training on his body. He seemed happy. Sir Alex Ferguson and (former United solicitor) Maurice Watkins visited Antwerp regularly. All was well.”
    The goals soon started to come and he finished with seven from 22 appearances, and would’ve had more if it wasn’t for injuries and international call-ups.
    After a successful stint in Belgium where he finished top scorer for Royal Antwerp Fangzhuo returned back to Man UnitedCredit: Getty – Contributor
    It was expected that Fangzhuo, seen here with Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs, would push onCredit: PA:Press Association
    And in his second season, with Antwerp playing in Belgium’s second division, Fangzhuo finished as the league’s top scorer with 18 goals.
    His rapid progress meant a work permit finally arrived in December 2006, and he was recalled by Ferguson who planned on integrating him into his first team squad.
    After Man United had clinched their 17th title in 2007, Fangzhuo was handed his debut against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
    The game started in bizarre fashion for the then 21-year-old as John Terry and Co. gave the Red Devils’ second string a guard of honour as they ran on to the pitch.
    Partnering Ole Gunnar Solskjaer upfront, he was replaced by Wayne Rooney after 73 minutes in a 0-0 bore draw, but showed some nice touches.
    The following 2007-08 season he played in a League Cup match against Coventry City, in which United fell to a shock 2-0 defeat.
    And later that campaign, Fangzhuo appeared in the Champions League, coming on for Rooney in a group stage match against Roma.
    On and off the pitch Fangzhuo suffered with the language barrier. Coupled with a crippling shyness, he rarely spoke to any of his teammates.
    Fangzhuo made his debut for Man United against Chelsea at Stamford BridgeCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Fangzhuo then made his full debut in a League Cup defeat against Coventry CityCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Later in the 2007-08 campaign Fangzhuo played in the Champions League against RomaCredit: PA:Press Association
    “The huge problem was how reserved he was,” McGuinness said.
    Alongside his struggles learning English, Fangzhuo also found himself spending more time in the physio room than on the pitch.
    At the beginning of the 2008-09 season, his squad number was given to Rafael and his contract was terminated mutually so he could find first-team football elsewhere.
    Fangzhuo returned to China with Dalian Shide, where expectation was high.
    But the pressure got to him and in two seasons (26 games) he failed to find the back of the net.
    Hoping to regain his confidence in front of goal, he returned to Europe.
    A stint at Legia Warsaw that lasted four games in 2010 was followed by a spell at Portuguese club Portimonense, who gave him an opportunity after a glowing reference from former United teammate Ronaldo.
    The final nail in the coffin of his European adventures came in 2011, when things didn’t work out at now defunct Armenian club Mika.UNFULFILLED PROMISE
    With his career in taters, Fangzhuo returned to China but found that no one wanted him.
    Hunan Billows FC took a chance on him, but he was deemed a rebel in his own country.
    After failing to make the grade at Man United and several European clubs, Fangzhuo returned back to China
    Fangzhuo’s career never regained momentum and in 2015 he had a plastic surgery makeover on a Chinese TV show
    He didn’t help his cause when he received a six-match ban for flashing the middle finger at Beijing Institute of Technology fans after they taunted him when he was substituted.
    And when Fangzhuo bleached his hair blonde, which is deemed disrespectful in the Asian community, there was a media outcry.
    Then, there were issues over his professionalism. Stories circulated in the press that he was more into partying and nightclubs than being a footballer.
    latest football features
    Before he turned 30, Fangzhuo decided to retire from the game after struggling with his weight.
    Finally, his fall from grace was complete in 2015 when he appeared on a Chinese reality TV show on which he had plastic surgery on his bloated face.
    Today, Fangzhuo lives as a recluse and his whereabouts are unknown. But it could’ve been so different had the boy wonder gone on to achieve what was expected of him. More

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    Ex-Middlesbrough footy star Richard Kell became a Jet2 pilot after two broken legs wrecked his footballing dream

    WHO needs a football career?When Richard Kell, now 43, decided to hang up his boots at 27 after suffering two broken legs he already had a back-up plan.
    Richard Kell became a pilot after retiring from football
    Kell trained to be a pilot and worked for Jet2Credit: Getty – Contributor
    Midfielder Kell revealed his analytical skills as a footballer put him in good stead to become a pilotCredit: AFP – Getty
    Kell is equally as critical of his performance as a pilot as he was a player
    The former Middlesbrough trainee began learned how to fly a plane during an injury lay-off at Scunthorpe United from 2001-2004.
    And back in 2020 he revealed all about what led to him becoming an airline captain for commercial airline Jet2.
    “I had just recovered from my first broken leg and felt I was struggling to get back to full fitness at Scunthorpe,” Kell revealed in 2016.
    “I was on a month to month contract and whilst waiting in the airport for a pre-season tour to Ireland I got talking to a pilot who was sat next to me.
    “On my return I went to my nearest airport (Humberside) to make my initial enquiries.
    “I had completed about 10-15 hours training, however my fitness returned, I signed a new contract and my pilots training was put on the ‘back burner’ for a time.
    “Fortunately I was able to keep returning to my training at different times in my playing career.”
    Kell believes that key skills he had as a footballer put him in good stead when it came to transitioning towards flying a plane.
    .css-qu9fel{border-top:1px solid #dcdddd;}.css-b9nmbi{margin-bottom:16px;border-top:1px solid #dcdddd;}.css-1qsre5o{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:flex-start;-webkit-box-align:flex-start;-ms-flex-align:flex-start;align-items:flex-start;-webkit-align-content:flex-start;-ms-flex-line-pack:flex-start;align-content:flex-start;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:nowrap;-ms-flex-wrap:nowrap;flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;justify-content:space-between;}.css-q8gelu{margin-bottom:24px;}.css-7ysxcx{padding:0;text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-7ysxcx:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-jkwlot{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:center;-webkit-box-align:center;-ms-flex-align:center;align-items:center;-webkit-flex-direction:row;-ms-flex-direction:row;flex-direction:row;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;justify-content:space-between;padding:0;text-transform:uppercase;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-jkwlot:hover:not(:disabled){-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1x7hydu{font-family:The Sun;font-size:24px;line-height:1.1666666666666667;font-weight:400;letter-spacing:0%;font-stretch:semi-condensed;padding:1px 0px;}.css-1x7hydu::before{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-bottom:calc(-0.24520833333333342em + -0.5px);}.css-1x7hydu::after{content:”;display:block;height:0;width:0;margin-top:-0.2333333333333334em;}.css-1lobn43{display:inline;font:inherit;margin:0;color:rgba(0,0,0,1);}.css-1lobn43 svg{fill:rgba(0,0,0,1);}LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS.css-1gojmfd{margin-bottom:16px;}.css-zdjvqv{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;height:100%;-webkit-align-items:flex-start;-webkit-box-align:flex-start;-ms-flex-align:flex-start;align-items:flex-start;-webkit-align-content:flex-start;-ms-flex-line-pack:flex-start;align-content:flex-start;-webkit-box-flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-wrap:nowrap;-ms-flex-wrap:nowrap;flex-wrap:nowrap;-webkit-flex-direction:column;-ms-flex-direction:column;flex-direction:column;-webkit-box-pack:space-around;-ms-flex-pack:space-around;-webkit-justify-content:space-around;justify-content:space-around;margin-top:calc(-12px/2);margin-bottom:calc(-12px/2);}.css-zdjvqv:before,.css-zdjvqv:after{content:”;display:block;}.css-1meuhfk{display:-webkit-inline-box;display:-webkit-inline-flex;display:-ms-inline-flexbox;display:inline-flex;margin-top:calc(12px/2);margin-bottom:calc(12px/2);}
    He said: “I was analytical as a footballer and always wanted to learn more.
    “Also, football gave me interpersonal skills. Being confined within the ‘tin box’ of a cockpit at 35,000 feet, means that I must be appreciative of my co pilots and other crew, who I have to interact with.
    “Finally, I was a fairly technical player so my overall touch and hand/ eye coordination is a great attribute to have as a pilot, helping me instinctively know when to apply power and rudder.”
    Kell jokes that he is as critical of his performance as a pilot as he was a footballer – and he analyses his performance in the cockpit just like he did on the pitch.
    “Rather like being a footballer I always want to do the job to the best of my ability,” he said.
    “I still sometimes think about my performance on the way home and how I can do my job better the next time.”
    Making it as a footballer is a tough ask, every kid dreams of becoming one.
    However, going on to become a pilot is equally as hard in what is a competitive industry.
    “You can be different, but nothing worthwhile is easy,” Kell revealed.
    “My chosen career was every bit as hard to get into as football and can be equally as competitive. However, if I had failed to gain my commercial pilot license I could still have gone and done something more mainstream and familiar.
    “I didn’t want any niggling doubts or ‘what ifs’ later in life.”
    When his premature retirement came knocking on the door, Kell was awarded a lump sum from the PFA.
    They also gave him an educational grant that helped fund his aviation courses.
    Kell said: “When I retired I put all my money into finishing my private licence off and going from one thing to the next; commercial licence, ground school etc.
    “After I retired I received some insurance money and I thought I would never lay my hands on that sort of cash again so, rather than put an extension on my house or something like that, I thought ‘this is my career so let’s do something with it’.
    “Aviation will last you up until you’re 60-65 years old so it’s a long-term investment.
    “Footballers can get funnelled down the path of coaching or management but there is a lot more out there and it’s worked out really well for me.”
    Kell has one piece of advice to pass on to players, especially in the lower leagues.
    “My main advice would be that players only tend to think about an alternative career during difficult periods in their careers. Try and capitalize and think of your transition when things are going well.”
    Kell’s career was cut short after suffering two broken legsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    After struggling with his fitness, Kell quit the game at 27 to learn how to flyCredit: PA:Press Association
    Kell is now flying high with Jet2 after his career was cut shortCredit: PA:Press Association More

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    Hidetoshi Nakata, the David Beckham of Asia, launched luxury sake business worth £2,350-a-bottle

    HIDETOSHI NAKATA doesn’t do things for the sake of it.Japan’s footballing superstar, dubbed the David Beckham of Asia, spent 11 years at the top before ending it all at the age of 29 to pursue a new dream of producing rice wine.
    Retired Japanese superstar Hidetoshi Nakata now has a booming business selling sake
    It wasn’t quite that straight forward, though.
    The midfielder shocked his nation when he retired from football just a few weeks after Japan’s 2006 World Cup came to an end with defeat to Brazil.
    Nakata was his country’s star in Europe after earning a move to the Italian Serie A and impressed at Perugia, Roma and Parma before ending his career with Sam Allardyce’s Bolton.
    “Every country I went to people asked me about Japan but I didn’t know anything about it,” Nakata told CNN.
    Nakata’s rice wine sake costs between £1,570 and £2,350 a bottleCredit: AFP – Getty
    Nakata has even sold a Kit Kat flavoured sakeCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Former Bolton midfielder Nakata is now a sake connoisseurCredit: Getty Images – Getty
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    “That’s a part of my life, so I need to become a better Japanese person.”
    Nakata had left his country at an early age for football so went in search of his roots.. and ended up finding rice.
    He drove to all 47 prefectures in Japan to immerse back in his own culture and came across sake, the alcoholic drink made from fermented rice.
    Nakata went to 200 of the 1,300 breweries in Japan.
    Nakata is known as the David Beckham of AsiaCredit: Getty – Contributor
    Nakata played retired after Brazil knocked Japan out the 2006 World CupCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    “Once I started understanding the culture behind sake and the industry, I started to understand the quality of sake and the people behind it, the history behind it,” he said.
    Nakata was so enthralled by the drink he turned it into a business.
    Using his initial, Nakata launched his own label called “N” and chose the Takagi Shuzo brewery in Yamagata prefecture to produce his sake.
    It was unveiled in 2013 and cost between £1,570 and £2,350 a bottle with only 1,000 produced.
    Experts in the sake-sipping industry say it goes well with fatty fish and red meat.
    Nakata was Japan’s footballing superstar who broke into EuropeCredit: AP:Associated Press
    Nakata played for Perugia, Roma, Bologna and FiorentinaCredit: AP:Associated Press
    Nakata battled with Serie A’s best including Edgar DavidsCredit: Reuters
    Brazilian legend Ronaldinho and Nakata battled for both club and countryCredit: Getty – Contributor
    After retiring, Sake visited all 47 prefectures in JapanCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    To the untrained eye, you wouldn’t know it was Nakata’s sake though as it comes in a black bottle without a label.
    And the former footballer wasn’t foolish enough to compete with his fellow countrymen so he only sold in Europe.
    “In Japan, the beer market is growing, and the young generation don’t know about sake,” he said in 2016.
    “They know more about wine instead. The potential of sake outside of Japan is bigger, but there is a lack of information and education.”
    Nakata’s final move was to the Premier LeagueCredit: AP:Associated Press
    Nakata played for Bolton Wanderers in the 2005-06 seasonCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Nakata starred in Sam Allardyce’s midfield at the Reebok StadiumCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Nakata has worked with hundreds of brands to promote sake across the globe, and some were stranger than others.
    In September last year, Nestle announced a partnership with the former footballer to create a Kit Kat sake and opened a pop-up bar in Tokyo.
    There were chocolate bars with sake flavour and rice wines to complement a Kit Kat.
    Nakata has immersed himself in this new world of his, a sake connoisseur bringing a taste of Japan to the rest of the globe.
    “I just do things I have a passion for. Soccer, craft, culture,” he said. “I’m not doing it for money or fame. That’s why, for me, there is no real success or no real fail.” More

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    Ex-Liverpool and Fulham star Ryan Babel is now a rapper, who has released his autobiography as a hip-hop album

    FORMER Liverpool ace Ryan Babel has released his autobiography… as a rap record.The Dutch star, 34, always held an interest in hip-hop and toyed with the idea of releasing music as he juggled a career in football.
    Ryan Babel has released his autobiography as a rap recordCredit: Alamy
    Dutch star Babel played for Liverpool between 2007-2011Credit: Getty
    But, with the game taking up most of his time, he instead set up a record label when he was 22 and appeared on other artist’s songs.
    Now, with his career winding down, Babel has stepped up to the mic with a truly inventive idea.
    On The Autobiography – Chapter 1, the Netherlands international sings about his relationship with Rafa Benitez, how Louis van Gaal didn’t believe in him and aims a dig at former team mate Ibrahim Affelay.
    It was boredom that inspired Babel, who had two spells in the Premier League with the Reds and Fulham, as he twiddled his thumbs during the first lockdown.
    He was on loan at Ajax from parent club Galatasaray, where he plays today, when a journalist asked him if he planned on penning his memoir.
    At the time he thought he was too young. But when football stopped, last year Babel got creative.
    He rang up his pals in the music industry and told them of his novel plan to detail his life story in a hip hop album.
    “I was aware that, if I wanted to make it authentic, I had to share stuff that maybe isn’t always comfortable to tell,” he told The Guardian.
    “But at the same time I was prepared mentally to do that and the process of writing was very inspiring with the people who were involved. I’m really proud of what I was able to tell in the final product and the way I was able to tell it.
    During the first lockdown, Babel admitted boredom got the better of himCredit: Alamy
    Already interested in music, Babel set out making a record about his careerCredit: Instagram @ryanbabel
    The Autobiography – Chapter 1, album cover shown, is the fruit of Babel’s laboursCredit: Instagram @ryanbabel
    “In the past when I was making little things in the studio it was more like bragging, you know how rappers do in general.
    “It’s easy to lie and say, ‘Oh, I’m rich this and rich that’ but that wasn’t interesting for me and definitely not what I wanted to do. I wanted to be as authentic as possible and share my truth.”
    During his storied career Babel has played for, and with, some of the most famous names in football.
    Open Letter, the third single to be taken from his debut LP, was the one that caused the most stir in his homeland.
    In the song, he bashes Louis Van Gaal and Rafa Benitez – but saves his more potent venom for Ibrahim Affelay.
    “Open Letter is a song that is divided into two parts and has two different beats,” Babel said.
    “The first part of the song is basically me taking you back on a journey I have walked from the very start. I describe moments where I felt certain coaches didn’t believe enough in me.
    “I describe conversations with old football players like Winston Bogarde, who had a tough conversation with me and told me that if I wanted to make it I needed to step it up.
    “I involve the current head coach of the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal, who at the time was the sporting director of Ajax and didn’t believe enough in me to give me a contract but still did because the coach, Danny Blind, believed in me.
    Babel leaves no stone unturned with some of his controversial lyricsCredit: Instagram @ryanbabel
    Ibrahim Affelay and Babel in better times before the rapper dissed his former team mateCredit: Alamy
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    “I talk about those things that happened back in 2003-2004 and I have never shared before.
    “There is also a moment where I describe my little relationship with Rafa Benítez at Liverpool, and then you go to the second part of the song which is more about the current time and where I give my opinion on journalism in Holland and a situation with an old colleague who became a journalist (Afellay).
    “People in Holland took it as a diss-song but it was more an expression of my disappointment in this individual because we had been teammates for so long and now he turned into a pundit who, in my opinion, tried to score points to make his position look good in the pundit world.”
    Babel was signed by Benitez for £11.5million in 2007.
    However, he struggled to set England alight with the Reds – despite an early prediction from Liverpool legends Kenny Dalglish that he had the potential to set the Premier League alight.
    Babel is believes he could have got more support from the Spanish manager during his time at Anfield.
    “It was, in my opinion, a weird relationship [with Benítez] because when he signed me I looked at him as the big uncle who wanted to give me a chance and help me succeed,” Babel divulged.
    “But then as we went on he left me totally on my own and only judged me for the things I didn’t do right instead of telling me how to solve or improve the things I had to improve.
    After arriving at Anfield in 2007 alongside Yossi Benayoun, Babel struggled with boss Rafa BenitezCredit: PA:Press Association
    Babel, still only 34, currently plays for Turkish side GalatasarayCredit: Rex

    “I was very young and I just needed guidance. I don’t want to blame the coach for me not having the ultimate career at Liverpool but I felt it could have been closer in terms of guidance and support.
    “You can compare it to when you’re trying to teach someone something and it doesn’t stick, but then someone else says the same thing in a different way and all of a sudden it clicks.
    “The way the coach at that moment tried to make things click, it didn’t click.”
    Ryan Babel’s The Autobiography – Chapter 1 is out now and available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Deezer. More