Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughLife in footballing limbo - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Life in footballing limbo - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Life in footballing limbo

If I could have back the hours I have spent trawling through the free transfer market on various ‘Football/Championship Manager’ type games, I would have enough time to read the works of Tolstoy, build a shed AND post regularly on this website.

Such was the joys of finding a big-name player or a hidden gem for a perfectly reasonable price of zero pounds and zero pence, time gradually slipped away and day turned to night whilst one perused the offerings.

In a similar way, real managers are doing the exact same thing now and like so many things in life, the Internet has changed how the process is done.

I imagine the old way of knowing which players were on free transfers would either be agents marketing their clients to managers or the PFA creating one big list which would be sent to managers up and down the country for them to browse and make enquiries from there.

However, nowadays, the PFA offers one big list of all the free transfers that are available and wannabe managers like you and I can have a root around and see what we can find (the list can be found here). The list includes all the details you could possibly want from the player’s position, his height and weight, his D.O.B and so on.

The list in itself is a treasure trove of half forgotten names and vague memories. For example, your team could pick up one-time Bristol City cult hero Adriano Basso. Or maybe “striker” Jérémie Aliadière, all 14 goals in 10 years of him. Or ex-“next-big-thing” Giles Barnes who is only 22 remarkably. Or the journeyman’s journeyman; Marcus Bent (released by Birmingham for those who lost tabs on his whereabouts). Or people’s champion Lee Bowyer. And that’s just the ‘A’s and ‘B’s of the list!

More players you may have heard of further down the list include John Carew, Pascal Chimbonda, Michael Brown, Pablo Counago, Sol Campbell, Kieron Dyer, Nathan Ellington, Jason Euell, Abdoulaye Faye, Daniel Gabbidon, Anthony Gardner, Eidur Gudjohnsen, Marcus Hahnemann, Marlon Harewood, Jon Harley. To be honest, I’ve only reached the ‘H’s and I’m not going to list anymore as it is getting a little boring.

The great thing about the list is you can actually make enquires about players which leaves endless scope for pranks; making an approach to Kieron Dyer from the British Medical Association perhaps?

As fun as it is to get some cheap laughs out of some out of work millionaires (and boy, it sure is fun), the other side of the issue is slightly less fun. The list is largely populated by either Academy cast-offs, deemed not good enough for the clubs, or ageing lower league players who are trying to cling on to their professional careers.

These players probably are not rich and do not know much about how the world operates outside of football. If they fail to find a club (and with the financial situation as it is lower down the league pyramid, that is a distinct possibility), these players may have to go semi-professional or drop out of the game entirely to support themselves and their families. These players probably do not have agents and rely on the work of the PFA to find them a new club and a new beginning.

Whilst players that are bombed out at the higher level (such as Thomas Cruise from Arsenal) will more than likely find another club, players like veteran Guy Branston or 19-year old Sean Geddes, released by clubs lower down the leagues, will find it harder as they are competing for fewer spots as a professional at a football club.

Just another day in the cut-throat world of football really.

You can find The Layman on Twitter at!/Dan_Whiteway

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