Dunfermline Athletic

Football is still just the job

Friday, 9th Mar 2012

Even in the light of all the financial troubles in the game, Martin Hardie claims that being a footballer is still the best career move

Martin Hardie

Given the turmoil in Scottish football Martin Hardie gives his advice on whether or not it is a good career for your ambitions. The 35 year old Pars midfielder was a relatively late entrant into professional football having balanced his part time career at Queens Park and East Stirling along with his job as an electrician. His return to the SPL with Dunfermline has not been accompanied by the same job security that came with promotion at Partick Thistle eight years ago.

"When we won the First Division last season, it was a big business - we were going up to play in the SPL. Some of us had been there and others were going to be playing there for the first time. There have been monetary issues filtering through Scottish football, attendances are down and that is widespread throughout Scottish football.

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"Luckily enough I am with a club just now that is playing at the highest level, for me personally and at the age that I am at now it is a joy. There are obviously young boys in their very early twenties who are getting a chance to play in the SPL. That is what is going to happen at teams, they are going to need to blood a lot of young players and try and get experienced players to blend a team together.

"You will just need to spend according to the income at your club. Teams have been paying out money when it has not been there, that's just the way football is. It is a different business, outside any other."

Martin Hardie v Hearts

The advice that Martin offers to strengthen future prospects in football do not appear too different to what might have been said before:-

"Work your bollocks off, try and get experience of playing the game from an early age. By that early age I mean the age of Ryan Thomson and Paul Willis - do as much in the game to try and better yourself. You want to play at the highest level that you possibly can whether that be SPL or making the move down to England which a lot of Scottish players now seem to do. There is a better standard of quality down south, that's a given and of course there is the financial aspects of playing in England.

Martin Hardie

"For any young boy, it is a case of showing what you can do in training, try to get that game time experience under your belt and try to make a career for yourself."

Martin reckons for many young boys the option of playing football still beats that of becoming a plumber, electrician or other craftsman:-

"I was on the tools in my early twenties and played part time football up until I got the chance to go to Partick Thistle full time. I bit their hand off for it because I wanted to be a football player first and foremost. It is not great fun leaving your house at half past six in the morning, finishing at six o'clock and then go training three nights a week.

"When you are full time you can come in for your two and a half hours and then go to the gym in the afternoon. As long as you look after yourself physically then I think you can make a good opportunity for yourself."

Martin Hardie v Dundee United

The opportunities that were available to Martin Hardie are possibly not available to today's up and coming stars:-

"Everybody even outside football was spending, that was the way it was and there were opportunities for football players to earn a crust at football teams. The finances are not the same now in the business world and throughout football."

Martin joked that there are a few floodlights needing replaced at East End Park so when he finishes playing there looks like there is still a job for him as an electrician.

"I would love to try and stay in football when my playing career finishes. I have done one of my badges already and depending upon what happens in the summer, I will probably go on to the next one after that. You just have to keep playing football as long as you are enjoying it. When you do actually stop, hopefully its not earlier that what you'd have wanted.

"I take it year by year, especially since I am into my mid thirties. It will be one year contracts at virtually every level in Scotland, there are not many two or three years deals being floated. The rat race starts in May to try and find yourself a club between then and August. In the last two or three years it has been coming down to that. There are boys who have had to drop down to Third Division level just to get back playing."

Martin Hardie



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