It’s perhaps inevitable in this day and age that footballers will not follow in the footsteps of their predecessors into the inevitable job opportunities that present themselves. Manager, Coach, Television pundit, Pub landlord, Priest and Horse trainer are just some of the roles that former players often either fell into, or chose to follow their career.
Premiership football however is light years ahead of how football used to be, even just 15 years ago. Now, with a world wide audience, viewing figures for some games in hundreds of millions, footballers are known throughout all continents, all countries and all terrortories. No where it seems is football’s ever too far away, some one, some where will be showing it.
As such, the opportunities for the modern footballer offer a myriad of careers their predecessors could only dream about. Ignore the dreadful records and films of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s, those days are long gone, thank god. Cantona began the ball rolling with his acting and has currently teamed up with legendary British director Ken Loach’s and appeared in his new film “Looking For Eric”, an early favourite for the Palme D’or at Cannes. No, really it is. Don’t mention Pele’s acting or Viagra adverts, it hurts my head too much.
At the forefront of these new opportunities comes Rio Ferdinand, who has released his online magazine #5 through his website www.rioferdinand.com . To say it’s a refreshing, pleasant surprise would be an understatement, certainly steering clear of the much maligned articles that have dogged Icon magazine since its launch at the beginning of last season. Firstly, unlike Icon’s digusting subscription charge, £115 for 6 issues, no that really does say one hundred and fifteen pounds for six issues, Rio wants to let you in free.
Whilst the average fan can’t certainly match Rio’s buying power, its articles and interviews are about things we can all do, people we can all see, clothes most of us can afford. He’s got competitions to meet him, win some cool clothes, jewellery and signed England shirts. Icon hasn’t got anything like that, as it seems to think we’re all multi-millionaires who simply must have the new Range Rover. Rio has wants us to meet some freestyle footballers, even with a Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass thrown in, Icon has a list of the most exclusive restaurants in the UK, of which there are 13 so far, including this one!
Now it’s so easy to slate footballers these days, but I have to take off my hat to Rio Ferdinand, he could have simply followed the distasteful line that Icon has gone down, but he’s resisted it and all power to him. He could have quite easily set himself up for a massive fall, but whoever has advised him about this venture wants applauding, if it’s all Ferdinands idea, even more respect to him. It’s a refreshing idea from a footballer who seems to realise the buying power of his fan base.
Of course there are items in the gadget section of the magazine that we can only dream about owning, but which magazine out there doesn’t give us such items. The whole website seems to be lovingly put together and for once, I’m looking forward to seeing how this opportunity works out for Ferdinand.