For the love of the game
Back in March, the prospect of a 2020-21 season seemed unlikely. Now we’re getting used to watching from home, canned crowd noises and strange kick off times; it’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have the beautiful game back.
As a business, football has had to adapt to the times in order to survive. There will come a time when the good times are back, stadiums full, the buzz of match day, burnt tongues on half-time pies; but as in life, making adjustments, allowances and being flexible have become crucial to enduring everything that 2020 has thrown at us.
This ability to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial both on and off the pitch. With an average playing career of only eight years, footballers need to plan for the future. At Arbuthnot Latham, we support professional players and know that a sporting career never follows a clear trajectory. We work with everyone involved in football from players getting their first contract to those transitioning into coaching, management, punditry and even those who want to leave it all behind and return to a “normal” life. While everyone’s goals are different, the passion for the game is the one thing they all have in common.
While the path to professional football has changed drastically over the past twenty years, there are constants that remain; from signing your first contract to the pain of pre-season, being away at Christmas and not always being sure what town or city you’ll be living in next season, we understand that the perception and the reality of being involved in football can be two very different things.
Clubs do all they can to help younger players stay grounded. Having a firm grip on your finances is crucial at the start and it only gets more important as the years go by. We help young players and their families navigate this change in their lives, helping them to understand what’s important and ensuring they lay the groundwork to put in place plans to protect what – and who – is important to them, as well as develop a plan for the future.
As players progress, thoughts turn to life beyond the pitch. Most former players miss the buzz of playing in front of a crowd and the camaraderie, but many also miss the routine. With 40% of footballers reportedly declaring bankruptcy and 33% divorcing within a year of retiring, the end of your career can be a sobering prospect. Having a plan in place – both financially and practically is important. We work with many players making this transition, supporting their whole families. It is easy to forget that the impact is not limited to the individual.
Those who go into management and coaching prolong their exposure to the uncertainties that football can bring. Yes, there is the pressure on performance and the travelling, but add in the responsibility for player wellbeing, team cohesion and managing the board, as well as media duties and keeping the supporters on side. Then just as the season ends, your thoughts immediately turn to pre-season and the transfer market. You need to know more than ever that your finances are being looked after by a valued partner.
At Arbuthnot Latham, we are thrilled to have partnered with the League Manager’s Association. We have long admired the LMA as an extremely well run and progressive organisation which operates very much in line with our own values of serving and supporting the needs of its members. This partnership will give us further opportunity to offer our relationship-led approach, entrepreneurial spirit, and long-term thinking to more of its members and their families.
 The other side of football's coin: Divorce, dysfunction and depression, Peter Staunton, Goal.