What happened next for the sports stars of the past?

By Calum McKenzie
BBC News

Image source, Getty Images/Allsport

All sporting careers come to an end, leaving sportsmen and women seeking a replacement for the adrenaline-pumped highs. While some can retire in financial security, most need to find a new way to pay the bills. What happened next for some of the stars of yesteryear?

From Test cricket to the checkout (via a chip shop)

Image source, Adrian Murrell/Allsport/Sainsburys

Perhaps most famous for his role in England's remarkable win against Australia at Headingley in the 1981 Ashes, Chris Old's post-cricket career has included running a fish and chip shop and working at Sainsbury's

Having failed to find a job in the game post-retirement, and having recently gone through a divorce, Old and his new partner opened a fish and chip shop near Penzance, Cornwall.

But, after 11 years, the workload became too much and he was forced to sell at the height of the financial crisis.

He recalls: "What was thought to be a pension for both of us, actually ate into what pensions we both had and therefore made life a little bit difficult."

As a result, he now works part time at Sainsbury's in Truro where the 68-year-old looks after the newspapers and magazines.

"There are people who still come across and ask if it is me and it is a nice situation to be in," he adds.

"Yes [they ask about the 1981 Ashes] but they're also asking about the game today so I have to make sure I'm up to speed with what is happening."

From fiery footballer to French fisherman

Image source, Bows Fishing Lakes/Getty Images

Former Leeds United, Newcastle United and England midfielder Lee Bowyer said it was the realisation he "couldn't just sit around watching telly" that persuaded him to buy two fishing lakes as a retirement project.

After an 18-year career, which included winning the League Cup with Birmingham City in 2011, his self-professed "getaway" has become an important part of his life.

Situated in north-western France, his lakes welcome groups of holidaying anglers for a week at a time.

"My wife does the bookings because I'm no good on computers," he said.

"At times it is 10 o'clock at night and people ring up but that's all part of the business.

"It is no hardship because you are just trying to help people catch fish and enjoy their holiday."

As well as jetting between the UK and France, 40-year-old Bowyer is also helping out at his first club, Charlton Athletic, in a coaching role.

From skating to singing

Image source, Tony Duffy/Getty Images/Nicky Slater

Former ice skater Nicky Slater is probably best known to many as a judge on ITV's Dancing on Ice.

Having competed in the 1980 and '84 Winter Olympics, the British champion left the sport at the age of 27. He admits he was "not able to deal with the world" as all he knew was an ice rink.

"I would sit in a room looking out, unable to pick up the phone because I was scared of calling people," he says.

Now he has decided to pursue a career in music as a singer-songwriter.

"It is a huge risk," he admits of his ambition to croon his way to even greater fame and fortune.

"The cost has been huge: in kit bought, in terms of not pursuing entertainment work opportunities Dancing On Ice could have sparked, and in terms of the time invested."

Given there is no guarantee of success, Slater has been accused by one friend of effectively gambling away his nine-year-old son's inheritance.

But with an Olympian's determination and enough material written to produce three albums, it appears Slater is in the music business for the long haul.

From the football field to the pastor's pulpit

Image source, Michael Steele/Allsport/Gavin Peacock

A retired professional footballer's journey to the television studio is a well-trodden path and it's one that Gavin Peacock at first set off down.

After a 17-year career with the likes of QPR, Chelsea and Newcastle, he began to work for the BBC on its football output. But he readily admits he felt it "was never going to be forever".

A Christian since the age of 18, it was in 2006 he said he "began to sense a call" that he should take up ministry full time.

He is now a pastor at Calvary Grace Church in Calgary, Canada.

"A lot of people thought I was crazy," the 49-year-old admits.

"People would say 'why do you want to give that [my football career] up?' But I gave it up for something better.

"It has been the hardest eight-and-a-half years of my life, life in pastoral ministry is difficult - you are dealing with people's hearts, life and death, and it tests your levels of compassion - but it is the greatest privilege."

From the tennis court to the world of contemporary art


One of the highlights of Valda Lake's tennis career saw her reach the quarter-finals of the women's doubles competition at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The British doubles specialist would hang up her racquet soon after. Since then, Lake has turned another of her passions - art - into a successful career.

The 48-year-old now runs a gallery in Los Angeles and has worked with the likes of Joan Collins and Tiger Woods as a set designer for TV commercials.

"I would go to a lot of galleries and museums [while on tour] just to get a change of scenery," she said.

"Sometimes I would sneak into art colleges and pretend I was a student because it was just a really lovely contrast to tennis."

Lake, who says she kept tennis and art separate for almost two decades, returned to Wimbledon for the first time since 1997 last year to show her three-year old daughter the outside courts.

From the pavilion to the playhouse

Image source, BBC Studios/Getty Images

For many, professional sport represents the pinnacle of everything they could hope to achieve, but for Hamza Siddique there was something missing.

"I found myself clockwatching quite a lot," the 26-year-old former Derbyshire batsman has admitted.

But a passage of 19th Century Russian literature soon changed all that.

"I kind of had this moment where I was reading Stanislavski and there was this quote that will always stay with me," he said.

That quote, which spoke about "celebrating a visitation," was the push that Siddique needed to take up acting.

Having starred in several London plays and BBC drama Doctors, he is currently filming for a superhero series where, by chance, he is playing a character called Nightwatchman.

He says that the vicissitudes of being a batsman have helped him to remain philosophical about the knockbacks he receives as a thespian.

"In cricket it doesn't matter how hard you train, there is a ball that could have your name on it and the bowler beat you on that day," he said.

"When you are leaving auditions you see quite a lot of insecurities and vulnerabilities and people who put so much pressure on one single performance, but cricket has helped me to just say 'oh OK' if I've just missed out."

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