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SKY SPORTS FOLLOW OUT OF CONTRACT PLAYERS THROUGH A SUMMER OF UNCERTAINTY

11 October 2016

Cobblers winger one of the players featured

In the summer of 2016, 844 professional footballers in England were out of contract. 690 were released, with many never getting another full time deal.

By the time the transfer window closed at the start of September, more than 200 were still without a club.

The Professional Footballers' Association estimate that 75% of players entering the industry at the age of 16 will have exited by the time they reach 21.

Away from the glamour and financial riches of top flight football this can be a scary prospect, with the average professional career lasting for just 8 years.

Sky Sports have been following 5 players through very different journeys in their search to stay in professional football. One of these players was winger Emmanuel Sonupe who signed a deal with Northampton Town in August. In all, the 5 players featured are:

Peter Odemwingie - 35-year-old striker famous for his goals at West Brom, infamous for his deadline day appearance at QPR, released by Stoke. He was playing Premier League football as recently as last season.
Previous clubs: La Louviere (Belgium), Lille (France), Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia), West Brom, Cardiff, Stoke, Bristol City (loan)
 
Marvin Sordell - 25-year-old striker who was part of the Team GB Olympic squad in 2012, having joined Premier League Bolton from Watford for £3m. Four years on, he's looking to get his career back on track having been released by Colchester after their relegation to League Two.
Previous clubs: Watford, Tranmere (loan), Bolton, Charlton (loan), Burnley, Colchester

Michael Collins - 30-year-old midfielder released by Oxford in January to join a club closer to his family in Halifax, only for a managerial departure resulting in the deal collapsing. A 5000 mile move to Bengaluru in India followed for 5 months before joining the hundreds of lower league players looking for a new club again in May.
Previous clubs: Huddersfield, Scunthorpe, AFC Wimbledon (loan), Oxford, York (loan), Bengaluru (India) 
 
Bradley Pritchard - 30-year-old midfielder who was a latecomer to professional football when offered a trial and contract at Charlton, having worked as their video analyst. After three years at the Valley and two seasons with Leyton Orient, the University educated players story this summer is as bizarre as his route into the game.
Previous clubs: Nuneaton, Tamworth, Hayes & Yeading, Charlton, Leyton Orient, Stevenage (loan)

Emmanuel Sonupe - 20-year-old Tottenham academy graduate who has now signed for the Cobblers and was training with 'Spurs first team last season. But like many released players from similar backgrounds, a lack of Football League experience meant managers were reluctant to take a chance on a youngster.
Previous clubs: Tottenham, St Mirren (loan)

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