After The Final Whistle

Michael Owen

Michael Owen (Photo credit: Steve_C)

I think we’ve established in previous posts that there is a difference between sports people saying they are ‘retiring’ and the same words coming from a regular 9 to 5 worker.


No surprise then that the media have picked up on a statement posted on Michael Owen’s website today.  In the post he confirms that at the end of his current season with Stoke City he is bringing the curtain down on his playing career.  I like that he says in his statement that:


“I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey that like many young players starting out, I could only have dreamt of.”


There have been plenty of commentaries and plaudits from the football world in response.  I had to dig around a bit to find out how he has answered the inevitable question a successful 33 year old asks when replacing one buzz for another: What next?


According to the Guardian newspaper Adrian Bevington, Club England’s managing director, said:


“We are already in talks with Michael about how he can share his international experience with our younger players in the future in an ambassadorial role”.


That seems a fairly modest next step.  Beyond that role it seems to me several opportunities may open up in the months and years to come.  There may be openings in the arena of sports presenting (following in the footsteps of Gary Lineker or Sue Barker); motivational speaking (John Amaechi springs to mind) or even politics (Tanni Grey Thompson or Sebastian Coe have done okay for themselves).


It will be interesting to see where Mr Owen’s journey takes him in 18 months’ time.  Wherever he is situated I hope his post retirement role brings him as much job satisfaction as his footballing career has done


Getting Inspired

I found some of the athlete’s personal stories from the Olympics to be amazing and I suspect the Paralympics will generate even more inspiring tales.


Here are a few thoughts, prompted by the recent Games, showing how inspiration can be kindled, capitalised on and embellished for the future.


Track star Mo Farah has taken years to fan the spark of his basic ability.  Mo was inspired to fulfil his potential, crossing oceans in the process.  He started out in Africa and received coaching in Europe, then continued honing his skills in the United States.  Notwithstanding his journey, the Guardian considers that:


“the drive that has propelled Farah to his Games-defining feat in his hometown is all is own”.

English: Mo Farah at the 2010 European Athleti...

English: Mo Farah at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



British sportswoman Nicola Adams has blazed a trail for others, as the first Gold medallist in women’s Olympic boxing.  According to a Telegraph interview she is prepared for her role as a pioneer:


“I definitely want to inspire girls to follow their dreams” she said “and not be bothered by what people say.  That’s what we need – more females being role models in sport”.



Cycling Olympian Laura Trott spoke to the Guardian about crowd sourcing encouragement:


“I’m peaking at the right time and it’s all thanks to the coaches, and the support of the crowd and my family” she told the BBC.


Basketball’s John Amaechi has an eye for the future.  In his view performance gains for his sport in Britain, cannot be determined quantitatively:


“The idea you can grow a sport by counting how many people do something for x minutes a week is ridiculous” he says in a BBC article about the sporting legacy.