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I was convinced that a Second or Third Division club would come in.' But the calls never came and, after a spell at non-League Aldershot, he retired. I still can't believe no one would give me a chance.'The pain faded when he became manager of Weymouth. You don't see the ground fill up, or the inside of a dressing room. It's best just to sleep.'Webb was sure he would soon be back in football.'I always knew I would have to work again after I retired.You always put off things till tomorrow and then suddenly tomorrow is here. 'I have my wife Dawn, my baby Neo, and Josh and Luke, who are on the books at Reading and Arsenal. As far as I'm concerned, they are my life.' But he has not given up on finding a job in the game. Yeah, maybe this summer I'll go and get them.'Martin Offiah Born: 29 December 1966 Rugby player 1987 to 2002 Then Scorer of more than 500 tries in a rugby league career with Widnes, Wigan, London Broncos and Salford, Offiah represented Great Britain 30 times.'I'd love to be with a club, especially my hometown club.' Getting his coaching badges would be a good first step. He also played rugby union for Rosslyn Park, Bedford and Wasps.I had the nice house and smart cars but I knew there would have to be something else.There was no way I could afford not to work again after 35.'It's completely different now.They would write back saying I did not have the right experience. How do I get experience if no one will give me a chance?It's the same if you are a young kid trying to get on the working ladder or someone like me, 36 then, trying to find employment. Alan Ball, Brian Clough, Alex Ferguson and Bobby Robson all coached me.
The silence that greets the end of a sporting life is, for many, the greatest challenge they will ever face. 'I thought I had proved myself - enough at least to put myself in the shop window. But the clubs could at least have seen me in training. It was percentage football stuff then.' His stint lasted only a few months. There's no buzz, no driving into the stadium, no fans and no walking on to the pitch at two.I asked about the hours and it did not sound too bad.So I applied for a job.'When I first started there, people would say, "What are you doing? He moved back to Forest, who were promptly relegated. It was not through choice but because no one wanted me.'Webb resorted to offering to train with a club for free, just to be given the chance to prove himself. He played for Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest, Manchester United, Grimsby and Aldershot and won 26 full England caps. 'Don't believe anyone who says you get used to waking up early,' he says. After a couple of hours in the sorting office, he hits the road with a bag of letters. 'Gazza still thanks me for getting injured, because that gave him his break.'Webb left United during 1992-93, when the Reds won their first league title since 1967. 'I fully expected to play until I was 35, but ended up quitting two years before.Six recently retired stars talk about the difficulty of adapting to ordinary life Neil Webb Born: 30 July 1963 Footballer 1980 to 1997 Then: Aged 17 years and 31 days, Webb became the youngest player ever to score for Reading. It is only five after eight in the evening, but when you have been up for as long as Neil Webb has it must seem closer to midnight. But once you are up and about it's fine.' By 5am he is at the Royal Mail depot a few minutes from his home. By his own admission he was never the same player again, although he was still in England's 1990 World Cup squad.