Simon Watts, a Sports Shots supporter based in Buckingham, will see his first ever documentary broadcast on Sky Sports 1 this Sunday (16th October 2016) at 6.30pm.
Watts is both reporter and producer on the show which follows 5 footballers in their search for a club.
Sports Shots will be showing a promotional video shortly on what is an outstanding watch! We would strongly encourage our followers to tune in, or put the item on to record on their Sky planner, as it is an excellent insight into the beautiful game.
Watch Sky Sports Originals documentary ‘Out of Contract’ as we follow 5 footballers in their search for a club (Sky Sports 1 – 1830 Sunday 16th October and available On Demand)
In the summer of 2016, 844 professional footballers in England were out of contract. 690 were released, with many never getting another full time deal.
By the time the transfer window closed at the start of September, more than 200 were still without a club.
The Professional Footballers’ Association estimate that 75% of players entering the industry at the age of 16 will have exited by the time they reach 21.
Away from the glamour and financial riches of top flight football this can be a scary prospect, with the average professional career lasting for just 8 years.
We’ve been following 5 players through very different journeys in their search to stay in professional football.
Peter Odemwingie – 35-year-old striker famous for his goals at West Brom, infamous for his deadline day appearance at QPR, released by Stoke. He was playing Premier League football as recently as last season.
Previous clubs: La Louviere (Belgium), Lille (France), Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia), West Brom, Cardiff, Stoke, Bristol City (loan)
Marvin Sordell – 25-year-old striker who was part of the Team GB Olympic squad in 2012, having joined Premier League Bolton from Watford for £3m. Four years on, he’s looking to get his career back on track having been released by Colchester after their relegation to League Two.
Previous clubs: Watford, Tranmere (loan), Bolton, Charlton (loan), Burnley, Colchester
Michael Collins – 30-year-old midfielder released by Oxford in January to join a club closer to his family in Halifax, only for a managerial departure resulting in the deal collapsing. A 5000 mile move to Bengaluru in India followed for 5 months before joining the hundreds of lower league players looking for a new club again in May.
Previous clubs: Huddersfield, Scunthorpe, AFC Wimbledon (loan), Oxford, York (loan), Bengaluru (India)
Bradley Pritchard – 30-year-old midfielder who was a latecomer to professional football when offered a trial and contract at Charlton, having worked as their video analyst. After three years at the Valley and two seasons with Leyton Orient, the University educated players story this summer is as bizarre as his route into the game.
Previous clubs: Nuneaton, Tamworth, Hayes & Yeading, Charlton, Leyton Orient, Stevenage (loan)
Emmanuel Sonupe – 20-year-old Tottenham academy graduate who was training with ‘Spurs first team last season. But like many released players from similar backgrounds, a lack of Football League experience means managers are reluctant to take a chance on a youngster.
Previous clubs: Tottenham, St Mirren (loan)
At the end of the 2015/16 season 690 out of 844 out of contract professional footballers were released in England.