News   |    July 21st, 2021

Talking Makes a Difference.

Harry Redknapp is one of our most popular elder football statesmen. His easy manner and ability to engage with the ordinary man and woman in the street makes him a people’s favourite. And since his success in winning the iconic ITV show I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out of Here! Harry seems to pop up everywhere, from cookery shows to travel programmes, slotting into each with great ease.

This week I caught up with Harry’s Heroes on ITV and it was a fascinating watch on many levels. For anyone who works in football or any sport for any length of time, the one thing they will say they miss the most once they retire is the daily training ground banter. Once you see a group of ex-players get together laughter and wind ups normally follow in abundance.

Paul Merson and Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock in particular, came across as likable characters and Ruddock was forced to withdraw from the tour to have a pacemaker fitted in and the show touched on his health problems regarding his heart.

The vulnerability of some of the players also shone through and I was particularly struck by former Aston Villa FC player Lee Hendrie, who in his career had built up an impressive portfolio of properties and other assets only to lose everything. He ended up trying to commit suicide on a number of occasions and to this day finds it difficult to talk about his own mental health issues. This is particularly pertinent in Mental Health Awareness Week and it was very positive to see several high-profile people including the Duke of Cambridge, openly talking about the challenges they have faced in their lives. And all with the same message – talking makes a difference.

At Integral it is something we are ever mindful of in relation to the sportspeople we manage. Not only the importance of having a strong inner circle, to confide in and help guide you. But wider than that, the notable things in your career that can influence your wellbeing. It is important that players receive and act upon sound financial advice in their careers irrespective of the level they are at and that they plan for the future, bearing in mind professional sport is a relatively short career. When you are a teenager it is often considered boring to talk about pensions and getting qualifications for life after football, but both are a must.

Of course, at Integral we want to get our players the best contracts and the best opportunities we can, but we also want to guide them off the pitch as well. As they say happy off the pitch happy on it.

For more information contact

Peter Varney - Chairman, Integral Sports Management

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