Have you ever wondered what happened to all of those players that you have seen come and go over the years? The heroes and the villains? The saints and the sinners? The stars that you talked about for years after they had retired and those you instantly forgot?
If so, Where Are They Now? is definitely for you!
Not all players end up running pubs or become TV pundits! It's no secret what Gary Lineker is up to these days but what about the many thousands of players who have slipped from public view? The first edition of "Where Are They Now?" uncovered some fascinating post football stories including the former Arsenal striker who became Iceland's Finance Minister; Millionaires; Bankrupts; Vicars; Comedians; Singers; a Phil Collins lookalike... and one or two publicans!
Updated:Zimbabwean striker signed from Auxerre in January 2006 and the transfer later came under scrutiny during the Stevens enquiry into financial wrongdoings. It took a while for Benjani to get going but by the time he left for Manchester City he was regularly scoring goals including a hat-trick in the 7-4 win over Reading, which broke the record for the most number of goals scored in a Premier League match. Sven-Goran Eriksson's agreed to pay up to £7.5m in January 2008 to take him to Maine Road. The transfer was not completed until the following month because the player had apparently missed two planes to Manchester, having fallen asleep at the airport. This meant that he had arrived too late to sign the forms before the midnight deadline. Despite the sizeable fee, Benjani has never re-captured the scintillating form shown in his latter days at Fratton Park and has subsequently been loaned out to Sunderland and now plays for Blackburn Rovers.
Updated:Zalec was a Yugoslav international midfielder who represented his country 40 times as a player. He had moved into management with Panathanaikos and Dynamo Zagreb before accepting an offer to become Pompey's Director of Football in 2004. His lively stay included a brief spell as temporary team manager after Harry Redknapp's resignation. The position was made permanent in December 2004, but after only five months he reverted back to his director's role. He resigned from this position in the following October. After five years out of the limelight he recently re-emerged when appointed manager of Dynamo Zagreb in May 2010.
Updated:Younger of the two Neville brothers, Phil excelled from the moment he made his debut and was awarded his first England cap at the age of 19. Suffered from an ankle injury and then from glandular fever, he managed to recover both his health and his brilliant form. He won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and the European Cup before signing for Everton in August 2005. Is still in the first team squad at Goodison Park.
Updated:Yoshi arrived at Fratton Park in a blaze of publicity and with the hope that he would stop the goals but also provide additional commercial revenue from shirt sales in the Far East. Despite his best efforts, neither was achieved during his short stay. Already an established Japanese international keeper, no one could fault his attitude - he tried his hardest and always with a smile on his face. Unfortunately, this could not make up for the fact that the goals were being leaked at an alarming rate and it was not long before he was replaced by Dave Beasant. Moved on to play in Denmark, but the crowd showed his their appreciation by giving him a standing ovation in his last match, having appeared as a second half substitute in the final game of the 2002/3 season (during which time, ironically, he kept a clean sheet). Still playing in Japan, he was one of several ex-Pompey players to appear in the 2010 World Cup.
Updated:Wrote himself into the history books when he became United's first ever black player. He made his debut against Nottingham Forest in May 1963, just five days before the FA Cup Final against Leicester City but it proved to be his only first team appearance, and he joined York City. Had a spell as manager of Poole then a stint in South Africa, before returning to the UK where he worked as operations manager of the Arndale shopping complex. He was working there at the the time of a terrorist attack in 1996. Died in Stockport in August 2003, aged 58.
Updated:Wrote himself into club history for being the first United player to score at Old Trafford in a defeat to Liverpool in February 1910. A centre forward, only spent three years at the club and found chances limited with Knocker West preferred, despite his very good games to goals ratio. A knee injury forced his early retirement. He became a licensee in his native Birmingham.
Updated:Worked his way through the ranks at Old Trafford, but never realised his potential, which bought him England youth and schoolboy honours. He had one season as a professional with loan spells at Lincoln City and Oldham Athletic before being released to spend five years playing for Crewe Alexandra. Started work for the Greensboro Youth Soccer in 1998 and three years later was appointed Boys Youth Development Director for GYS. He has also been on the staff of the NCYSA olympic development program since Spring 2000. He moved to the South Charlotte Soccer Association in May 2006 but returned to Greensboro due to his family not settling in his new location, and is assistant director of coaching.
Updated:Worked his way through the junior ranks, but with Eric Parsons and Peter Brabrook blocking his path to the first team he had to settle for one appearance against Frem in the Fairs Cup before being released. Later played for Torquay United and settled in South Devon. Now lives in retirement in Paignton.
Updated:Won three caps for Scotland despite attracting the attention of the England selectors. Played most of his football for Pompey and was a regular goalscorer during his ten year stay. He made three appearances for Fulham towards the end of his career before returning to Fratton Park as a trainer. Died in May 1983.
Updated:Won the Blues Player of the Year award in 1974 and shone like in a beacon, even though the club were relegated a the following season. Was an ever present when they won promotion two years later, after becoming a pillar of strength in the middle of the back four. Suffered from injuries towards the end of his stay at the club and was eventually replaced by Joey Jones. Moved to New Zealand where he still lives and works as an advertising executive for a newspaper.
When we researched the first printed edition of 'Where Are They Now?' in the 1990's, footballers were already incredibly well paid by conventional employment standards but prior to that, players had to find a new career once they had hung up their boots.
This meant that we unearthed plenty of interesting and un-expected stories, many of which are found on the site. Sadly, there were some we could not re-produce for legal reasons - sorry!
Playing professional football, particularly at the highest level should ensure that modern players should not have to worry about money for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, this has not limited the number of fascinating tales for us to tell. For example, were you aware that former Sheffield United midfielder Curtis Woodhouse became British light welterweight champion when he took up professional boxing, having apparently 'fallen out of love' with football? If the rumours are true, he was not just a winner in the ring! At one point, he was considered to be 50 to 1 outsider to win the title and a successful Â£5,000 scooped him a cool Â£250,000 when he defeated defending champion Darren Hamilton.
As well as our regular club based pages, we also occasionally add more detailed player pages and would welcome your feedback. See: Roy Bentley, Trevor Francis, Gavin Peacock, Carlos Valderrama, Graham Potter.
If you know of any other stories that may interest fellow fans, please do let us know.