ANDY JOHNSON went from using today's chip paper to being tomorrow's back-page news.
Now the former England striker is helping athletes prepare for life after retirement.
Johnson grew up in Bedford as the son of an NHS worker and a roofer and got his first job as a teenager – a far cry from the £40,000 per week he earned at Everton and Fulham.
He told The Times in 2021: "We certainly weren’t well off, but my mum and dad had really good jobs and they worked to give me everything.
"I worked a Saturday job in a chip shop in Bedford, a place called Andy’s Chippy — it’s still there now, actually.
"I was 15, a year before I joined Birmingham City [in 1998].
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"Mum and Dad were sick of giving me pocket money for sweets and they told me to get out and get into the real world.
"It was a good laugh, and it was nice to earn a bit of money for myself."
Johnson, 42, added: "I earned top-endish money at both Everton and Fulham, upwards of £40,000 a week. Only regular internationals got six figures back then.
"They say there’s a very small window now when players need to maximise their earnings.
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"With injuries and lack of form, the actual time on the pitch when you’re physically at your peak is five to six years, even though your actual career can be much longer."
Johnson came through at Birmingham before spells with Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham and QPR then finished his career in 2015 after a brief return to Selhurst Park.
His red-hot form at Palace earned him his £8.6million transfer to Goodison Park – but first came his senior England debut in 2005, snubbing the chance to represent Poland.
He was a reserve for the Three Lions at the 2006 World Cup and went on to make eight caps, failing to score.
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During his playing days, Johnson co-founded his own property company and works as an ambassador for Crystal Palace.
But in April, he launched his BAND business which focuses on advising professional athletes on their transition into post-playing life and stepping into the business world.
Johnson – who once bought an Audemars Piguet watch for £118,000 – added: "Being a sportsman and a business owner can be a lonely place. I was a business owner at 27, but it can be tough.
"It’s great to give back my experiences of what I’ve gone through to athletes.
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"The money I was on will sound like lots to many people, but I always worried. When you’ve got kids it changes your thought process.
"A lot of sportspeople have too much time on their hands and too much money. It’s too easy to make silly decisions, whether it’s clothes or watches or something else. There’s a lot of impulse buying."
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