A life less ordinary
Inside Blue Wed 27 Dec 2017
George Weah has been elected as president of Liberia, but he is by no means the only ex-Blue to tread an unfamiliar path after hanging up his boots. Here are five of our favourite post-football careers undertaken by those who were favourites here at Stamford Bridge...
Chelsea fans of a certain age will always hold the attacking-midfielder in high regard for his efforts in 1993/94 season, when he scored a double at Wembley to take us through to our first FA Cup final in 24 years, as well as netting the winner in home and away victories over Manchester United. After quitting football, Peacock initially went into the world of punditry before heading over to Calgary to become a Pastor. ‘When I got the call to enter the ministry I just felt like that was what I was meant to do,’ he said. ‘I was in my study reading my Bible when it seemed someone had highlighted the words on the pages. I suddenly felt the calling to preach.’
The Dutch centre-half became the first black footballer to be named Chelsea’s Player of the Year when he took home the award in 1990 at the end of his first full campaign at the club. During his three years at the Bridge, Monkou proved to be a larger than life character and it came as no surprise to Blues fans to see him turn his back on football to open up a pancake house in Holland. ‘It was hard work, but also a lot of fun,’ he said of his venture. ‘It was surprising for the people who had called me a certain name which I cannot repeat from the stands to see me tossing pancakes!’
When a string of injury problems forced the Danish defender into an early retirement, just three years after he had appeared for the Blues in the 1994 FA Cup final, there was no moping around or feeling sorry for himself. Kjeldbjerg dusted himself down, started covering matches as first a commentator and then a host before becoming the Danish equivalent of Ant and/or Dec by presenting his country’s version of I’m A Celebrity. ‘When I was finishing at Chelsea I started an FA coaching course,’ he explains, ‘but after one day I knew I didn’t have the desire to do it.’ He also spent a year presenting Gladiators in Denmark. Awooga!
However, it is as the host of Denmark's equivalent of Survivor for which Kjeldbjerg is best known in his homeland - indeed, he has presented the show for longer than he played professional football.
A prolific striker with the ball at his feet during his days at Chelsea, Stein decided instead to put his hands to good use in his new career as a physiotherapist. The man who once held a Premier League record after scoring in seven consecutive games for the Blues maintained his link with the football world after hanging up his boots. ‘I was always interested in injuries because I had a few myself,’ reveals Stein. ‘I went to university for three years and gained my qualification – I got a BSC Honours so I’m a chartered physio.’ He worked for, among others, Barnet, Rotherham and Crawley Town, but he now works for a school in Maida Vale.
'I am working in the special educational needs department, working with kids with difficult conditions and the fact I am giving something back into the community is really enjoyable,' he said. 'They talk about the football all the time and they try to nutmeg me when I play football with them, but no one has yet. I am too long in the tooth for that one!'
Acting is perhaps not the most uncommon profession among former footballers – there is, after all, plenty of drama on a football field. But the World Cup-winning defender takes his place on our list for causing Chelsea fans, and one ex-player, to pause during one of the more poignant moments of the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything and whisper: That bloke looks like Frank Leboeuf! ‘I was watching it at the cinema with my wife and I wondered if it was him,’ said Gavin Peacock, who played alongside the Frenchman. ‘Then I said, “Actually maybe not, he looks a bit weightier in the face. But it really looks like Frank.” And of course, the credits roll and it was Frank!’