In the modern age footballers no longer dread the day they have to retire and find another way to earn a living, if they have been smart with their money they will have more than enough to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. They are in a position to not only survive but to thrive as well. Access to lots of capital means they have access to lots of opportunities. Many footballers are turning their hand to business as a side hobby or as a new direction in life once they have hung up their boots.
Below is a list of seven current and old football players from Manchester clubs who have tried their hand at business:
1. Gary Neville
Gary Neville has been a fairly busy man since he retired from professional football, splitting his time between being an England coach and a pundit for Sky Sports. But he has also been laying the foundations for a business empire. Gary has teamed up with Ryan Giggs to create GG Hospitality which owns the brands Cafe Football and the soon to be finished Hotel Football.
Cafe Football is located in Westfield, London and opened at the end of 2013. The restaurant holds 140 people and is a mixture between sports cafe and high end eating and has so far received mainly positive reviews and feedback.
Along with Cafe Football there is Hotel Football, a 138 bed hotel being built in the shadows of Old Trafford that will have a 5-a side pitch on the roof. The hotel can also host up to 1500 fans on match days and is set to open in 2014.
2. Ryan Giggs
In 2014 Ryan Giggs finally decided to call it a day and retired from professional football ending a glorious career with Manchester United that spanned 24 years and saw him win every top level honour possible at club level.
As mentioned above Ryan Giggs has joined forces with Gary Neville to create GG Hospitality. Along with Cafe Football and Hotel Football Ryan is also the owner of a restaurant in Worsley called Georges.
3. Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand was part of the defence that was the catalyst to Manchester United’s success over the past 10 years. Rio Ferdinand has played his last game for Manchester United and his future in football remain unclear.
One thing for sure is that he won’t be short of options for things to do, Rio has been just as busy off the pitch than he was on it. There are ten companies registered at companies house with Rio Ferdinand listed as the director. Among these ventures are his #5 Magazine, an online entertainment magazine with a clothing offshoot and Rosso, the restaurant he owns in Manchester city centre. Other businesses include a film production company and a record label.
Rio also contributes a lot to charity and has his own charitable foundation called Live The Dream Foundation.
4. Class of ‘92
The Class of ‘92 have seen a surge of popularity in recent times with the release of their DVD and then their brief stint in charge of Manchester United. For those of you who have been living under a rock the Class of ‘92 are the football players that won the FA Youth Cup with Manchester United in 1992 before breaking into the main team and becoming part of one of the most successful teams in football history.
They have all retired from football now but Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt have decided to give back to the city where they got their first chance in football, they recently bought Salford City FC, a team that plays in the Northern Premier League Division One North. They have ambitious plans for the club and aim to steer the team to the Football League in the coming years.
5. Lou Macari
Lou Macari is a Scottish footballer who played for Manchester United from 1973-1984, making 329 appearances and scoring 78 goals. He left Manchester United to join Swindon Town where he played for two years before retiring. After retiring he spent almost 20 years in football management taking charge of Swindon Town, West Ham United, Birmingham City, Stoke City, Celtic and Huddersfield Town
Lou Macari has a business that does very well, he owns a fish and chip shop on Sir Matt Busby Way that bears his name. On a match day the shop is full of hungry Manchester United fans looking for some pre/post match grub.
6. Joleon Lescott
As a Manchester United fan I appreciate this list may so far seem a little biased so now we move to the blue half of Manchester. Joleon Lescott (occasionally) plays in defence for Manchester City after joining the club in 2009 from Everton for £24 million.
In 2012 Joleon joined forced with his brother Aaron Lescott and Coventry City defender Jordan Stewart to create a clothing label called The Lescott Stewart Collection. The label is a fashion line of high end designer clothes. The label works closely with Harvey Nichols and describes itself as affordable luxury, with cardigans that cost £205. You can be the judge of that one.
7. Francis Lee
This is perhaps the best entry on the list, Francis Lee was a footballer who played for Manchester City from 1967-1974 playing in 248 games and scoring 112 goals. Francis Lee played football before it was drowning in cash, footballers were paid only a fraction more than any other working man so when Franny Lee retired he went into business with what little football money he had.
All the other players on this list have gone into the “glamorous industries” whereas Franny Lee decided he would make his fortune in toilet rolls. He set up FH Lee as a toilet-roll manufacturing business and became a millionaire when he sold it in 1984, at one point the company had Peter Kay on the payroll as a factory worker.
When Franny Lee sold his business he became a race horse trainer before becoming the chairman of Manchester City in 1994 when he purchased £3 million of shares at a price of £13.35 per share but stepped down in 1998. Today Francis lives a comfortable life and enjoys the fruits of his labours.
What business would you open if you had a footballers wage? What’s the best business venture you have seen from a footballer? Let us know in the comment box below.