Ross Winton, Sports Reporter
Being a modern athlete cannot be said to have a long shelf life. You need only look to the world of football to figure that out. Case in point: Frank Lampard. Just last week many journalists and fans alike were becoming quick to criticise the Chelsea and England midfielder.
This came after Stamford Bridge boss Andre Villas Boas made him an unused substitute in their recent 4-1 Premier League win over Swansea. This led to discussions on football forums and amongst leading football critics as to whether Lampard’s career was petering out.
At age 33? Ludicrous. Lampard has since brushed off these hyper-critics, responding by notching-up 4 goals in his last two appearances, including a stunning hat-trick in Sunday’s 5-1 demolition on Bolton Wanderers.
But, should Lampard’s career end abrubptly tomorrow, he would still be laughing all the way to the bank. Statistics revealed just yesterday suggested Lampard was worth a staggering £26miliion, making him the world’s 7thrichest footballer.
The same cannot be said however, for young Accrington Stanley defender Tom Bender. The 18 year old, who is currently on-loan at Stanley from Colchester United, suffered an injury in their midweek Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie with Tranmere Rovers, sparking initial fears that he may have broken his neck. The match was subsequently abandoned and the teenager was rushed to hospital. Thankfully, it has materialised that the young player has ‘only’ suffered severe concussion and will be able to continue playing football in the future.
Just for arguments sake though, let’s imagine that Tom Bender’s career had come to an abrupt end on Tuesday night. At 18 years of age and (with no disrespect to his employers) not exactly a top end salary to fall back on, the Welsh Under-21 starlet would have been looking at a life altering career change. The football world’s thoughts were with the young man during the week, and I guess he didn’t expect to be trending on twitter so early in his career!
Bender could have attempted to go down the route of former Glasgow Rangers youngster Craig McShea, who you may remember attempted to sue Hibernian FC for £1million in damages. This came after a challenge from one of their players broke his leg and effectively ended his career. Needless to say, McShea is still waiting for his big pay day!
The moral of the story then, the footballing industry is a risk and reward business. Guys like Lampard at the top end could break a leg tomorrow and it would have little impact on their future financial life. As for Tom Bender, who knows, maybe he will still be the future of football, but he came ‘oh so close’ to joining the rest of us mere mortals working in the ‘real’ world. And Craig McShea – good luck in court … if you get that far, that is!
P.S. Have you heard of Michail Osinov? Didn’t think as much. Well, here he is scoring the fastest goal ever recorded, in just 2.7 seconds. 35 year old Osinov, who plays for FC MITOS Novocherskaas in Russia, later joked that he expects an English Premier League side to sign him now.