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'More can be done': Former West Brom midfielder Andy Johnson on retiring players and 'worst year'

More needs to be done to help players when they retire from football according to ex-West Brom midfielder Andy Johnson - who has revealed his first year after departing the game was 'the worst of his life'.

Andy Johnson celebrates after scoring in an FA Cup tie at Sunderland in 2002
Andy Johnson celebrates after scoring in an FA Cup tie at Sunderland in 2002

Johnson sat down with Jonny Drury and Lewis Cox for an upcoming guest episode of the Baggies Broadcast - and spoke about his career after leaving The Hawthorns and football.

The ex-Wales man signed for Leicester and Barnsley after departing The Hawthorns - before retiring following a brief spell at King's Lynn.

In the wide ranging interview, which is out on Thursday, Johnson detailed his post playing career and how it was 'the worst year of his life', explaining how he feels more could be done to help and assist players when they leave professional football.

He said: "It was a difficult bridge to cross. I'm lucky I have a career now, but some haven't got anything to get up for, and don't get up.

"I think it needs to be addressed - when I first finished, the first year was the worst of my life, I hated it.

"But it was one of those really, you just have to get on with it and deal with it with good support around you, but mentally it can be quite a struggle at times.

"You read about it all the time in the paper. The PFA are great, but they aren't there when you wake up with no one around and you're stuck on your own.

"I always got up at 5am to 5.30am, I'd watch the news until it rolled around, then watch something like Frasier, then Homes Under the Hammer, then Jeremy Kyle.

"I'd take my dog, Frank, out for a walk then I'd go to the supermarket and bump trollies with someone on purpose just to chat with someone - then wait until 5pm for my mates to finish work so we could go and have a beer and a chat and I could enjoy some company, that is what it was like, it is shocking really.

"The PFA are there to help - but they are not there all of the time."

After leaving the game Johnson retrained in another profession and three years ago was invited onto the media team at Albion as a co-commentator for the club's website.

And he has explained how is life is better now than when he was playing.

"I went back to school and retrained and you have to adapt your life," he added.

"I worked hard and it is different, but I love the work I do now, it is harder than when I played.

"I am the first one in the office and the last to leave and I love it. I wouldn't change it, and my life is probably better now than it was when I played football, I own my life now in as much as I do what I want.

"But at the same time I love what I do, it is different to football - but I love it."

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