The vast majority of footballers retire either at the top of the game or near it at the very least. Some though either finish their careers or come out of retirement for amateur football teams, either because those are their only options to continue playing football or because why not. Here, I talk you through 5 (well, 6 really) footballers who turned out for amateur football teams.

1) Lee Hendrie – The tale of this former Aston Villa star and one time England international is an important story that I couldn’t do justice with this short piece, so I’ll just focus on the football side. Always a bright spark for Villa as

Lee Hendrie ended up playing for a number of amateur football teams.
Hendrie finished his career playing for a number of amateur football teams

he made over 200 appearances for them, it was when he left the Midlands club in 2007 that his fortunes changed. During a 3 year period between 2011 and 2014, Hendrie turned out for no less than 8 amateur football teams after returning from a season in Indonesia. A player I remember well from watching Match of the Day in my childhood, Hendrie’s amateur football run, although not trophy-laden, has true journeyman credibility.

2) Edgar Davids – When Edgar Davids joined Crystal Palace it was slightly strange. When he later joined Barnet FC in the 4th tier of English football as player-manager in October 2012 though, well that was just straight bizarre. Unfortunately for the man nicknamed the Pitbull, he wasn’t able to reverse Barnet’s fortunes and they were relegated. The following season, the former Dutch international and Champions League winner continued to lead the North London side on the touchline and the pitch in the Conference, however by January 2014 he’d left the club. It was a short and slightly strange stint among the amateur football teams of England for the Pitbull.

3) Aílton – This Brazilian striker, although never featuring for his national side, still had a pretty impressive career in Germany before joining amateur football teams in the country’s lower leagues. Known as somewhat of an enfant terrible who was prone to rather melodramatic interviews whilst at Bremen and Schalke, Aílton’s time in the Bundesliga was still a success as he became the first foreigner to win German Footballer of the Year in 2004 after a successful season with Bremen. The Brazilian decided to hang up his boots in 2013 after a spell with sixth division side BFV Hassia Bingen, perhaps realising he had a career beyond football following his 2012 appearance in Germany’s I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!

4) Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten – In September 1999 a league clash between two Dutch amateur football teams also saw two legends of the sport come head to head. Upon hearing that his friend and former teammate

As well as the Euros and European Cup, Ruud Gullit and Marco van basten have featured for amateur football teams
As well as the Euros and European Cup, Gullit and Van Basten have featured for amateur football teams

Marco van Basten would appear for ABN-Amro’s sixth XI, Ruud Gullit decided he would help out their opponents; AFC fifths. Gullit started the match, whilst Van Basten slept in and missed the start of the game, and scored twice for his side. Despite his late start, Van Basten did score 11 seconds after his introduction proving he still got. AFC ended up winning 6-2, but still; not a bad match between two amateur football teams to stumble upon whilst walking the dog.

5) Eric Djemba-Djemba – Ah, Eric Djemba-Djemba. The man, the legend, the icon. Manchester’s second favourite Eric. Alongside a less than successful 2 year stint at Manchester United, the Cameroonian can now add two amateur football teams to his CV: first French side Voltigeurs de Chateaubriant and now Swiss fifth division side FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues. This cult Premier League star has really staked his claim to Nicolas Anelka’s crown as king of the journeymen with his past two career moves, after dropping in on Qatari, Indian and Israeli football on his journey to amateur football. If there’s any footballer I’m more happy to learn is still playing in an obscure league than Eric Djemba-Djemba then I can’t think of them.