The recent revelation that a professional footballer is currently training to be a plumber may have raised a few eyebrows, but while a future career on the tools may not attract the same level of financial rewards as that on the pitch there’s no doubt that the earning potential of a heating and plumbing engineer will last considerably longer than that of the average player.
While the physical demands of both professions may take a similar toll on the knees, a footballer’s perceived value will suffer a sharp decline by the time they reach their mid-thirties, in contrast to the worth of a plumber which is only likely to be enhanced by the knowledge that comes with experience and maturity.
His forward thinking should ensure another rewarding chapter to follow.
Change of direction
In an interview with BBC Sport, Aberdeen defender Shay Logan, previously with Manchester City and Brentford, announced that he has been preparing for the day when he hangs up his boots by training as a plumber in his spare time.
Having decided that the usual ex-player options of coaching and punditry aren’t for him, Shay has spent the last 18 months taking a plumbing course at his local college and benefitting from some practical work experience in his spare time.
Shay explains that he has enjoyed the challenge of learning some new skills and operating in an unfamiliar environment which takes his mind away from the pressures of playing for one of Scotland’s top flight teams.
There are many examples of ex-footballers struggling to get to grips with everyday life once their time in the limelight comes to an end, but it seems that Shay is determined to remain well-grounded, acknowledging that he has a lot to learn in his future profession.
A diverse career
The publicity from the story is a shot in the arm for a trade that has sometimes struggled to appeal to the aspirations of school leavers who have been encouraged to think that such lines of work should only be pursued if all else fails.
The diverse nature of the job is often overlooked by careers advisors who do little to rectify the stereotypical views of those who think a plumber’s day consists of little more than a series of burst pipes and blocked toilets.
However, a modern day plumbing and heating engineer is expected to have mastered a wide range of skills and understand increasingly sophisticated technologies that continue to evolve as more customers embrace the opportunity to invest in interconnected devices and environmentally-friendly solutions.
The value of heating
The thrill of press-fitting a piece of copper pipework might not match that of putting in a crunching tackle or the glory of scoring a late winner at Aberdeen’s Pittodrie Stadium, but Shay can take some consolation in knowing that his newly acquired skills are likely to have a longer-lasting impact on his future customers’ comfort and welfare.
There’s no denying that successful football teams can help to bring towns and communities together, but the health and wellbeing of that community would be in some jeopardy without reliable sanitation and heating.
For that reason, unlike the fortunes of football clubs and the players on their books, the future success of a reliable and knowledgeable plumbing technician is pretty well assured.
Shay will be hoping that it will be a while yet before he finally calls it a day on his playing career and there will be more triumphs to come, but his forward thinking should ensure that there will be another rewarding chapter of his life to follow.