When professional footballers retire nowadays there are two main areas that they move into once they finish playing. Coaching and media work. These roles enable ex-players to stay involved with the game they love rather than venturing into a completely different field.
My interviewee however, has not followed this well trodden path, he has taken the road less travelled to become a professional artist. Jody Craddock retired in 2013 and is now following his passion for art. I caught up with Jody to find out how and why he made the transition from footballer to artist.
I read that your grandfather drew pictures in his letters home during World War 1 and that your father was also interested in art. With this influence, have you always been passionate about art or was it a more recent development?
As a child I’d always been interested in art and had the frame of mind of “I’d really like to do that.” So as a child I would just try and copy the things that interested me most, and that’s where the seed was sown and the more I did the better I got.
What would your advice be to footballers worried about life after retirement and those already struggling with it?
Football can be a very short lived career and few manage to forge out a 20 year career, I fortunately managed to achieve this. Due to entering the game relatively late at 18 I always had the frame of mind that this bubble could burst at any second leaving me looking for a job. With this in mind I chose to do some courses which were subsidised by the PFA early on in my career in case it didn’t go to plan. The fear of failure of not making it as a footballer always spurred me on to train and work that extra bit harder to ensure that was never an option. Through football and the free time I had in the afternoons I took up painting again and now after retiring I am fortunate enough to do something else I love which is to be a professional artist.
What was your best moment as a footballer?
Winning a local derby would have to be in there with my highlights, they would be some of the most intense and exhilarating games I’ve played in. But I shouldn’t overlook my debut or first goal or first contract and then it goes without saying that playing in the Premiership is every boy’s dream.
And finally what is your opinion on VAR?
Great, if it works. I’ve already seen them make a mistake with it though. It does take some of the spontaneity out of the game but when it comes to players diving (which I hate by the way) this would be a perfect way to stamp it out, only time will tell. I feel they are continuously trying to change something every season with the game. Will they ever be happy?
Find Jody on Twitter at @MrJodyCraddock and see his art at http://www.art-affect.com