Ex-Portsmouth keeper Andy Petterson: I've been in touch with Rory Allen - he's happy

Andy Petterson has been reassured – Rory Allen is happy with life post-football.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 8:00 am
Rory Allen played just 16 times for Pompey during an injury-plagued Fratton Park stay

Petterson and Allen were playing colleagues at Pompey, golfing partners and, for a period, companions in the treatment room.

The goalkeeper left Fratton Park first. Then, nine months later, Allen followed suit.

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Except the former Spurs striker’s November 2002 exit involved walking straight out of football – to watch the Ashes in Australia.

Allen, who is now employed by the foreign office and is married with two children, has never publicly spoken since quitting football.

And Petterson admitted he recently got back in touch with Pompey’s former £1m capture.

He told The News: ‘You love the game, but it is easy to fall out of love with it as well.

‘I guess with Rory it was the pressure of not being able to properly get himself fit, having problems all the time. Maybe, at the end of the day, the money’s not worth it, it is about sanity.

‘Going over to Australia, having a few beers and watching the cricket brought sanity back for him.

‘It was one injury after another after another and it was probably at the back of his head whether he would ever get back. Sometimes there are no rewards after all the work you put in.

‘That was his time, he’d had enough of it. The body was probably telling him he was not meant to be doing that any more – and he moved on.

‘I probably hadn’t spoken to him for a good 10-15 years, then I saw that story in The News.

‘I contacted him on Facebook Messenger to see how he’s doing. He seems happy enough, with a wife and kids and a good job in the government.

‘If he had just hung around football, it could have gone the other way for him.

‘I remember hearing the Ashes story. Rory was always big into his cricket and liked his golf as well, we played quite a bit when he was at Pompey.

‘I know I’m an Aussie, but I don’t think I would have cancelled my contract to watch cricket.

‘It was probably a therapeutic thing for him at the time and it worked.

‘I’m sure if he still had that love affair with football he would have tried it again when he came back to England, but obviously it had run its course – and time for something else.’

Allen made 16 appearances and scored three goals during his injury-plagued Fratton Park stay.

Eventually, having failed to play competitively after 29 months, he walked away at the age of 25.

And Petterson can empathise with his former team-mate.

He added: ‘At the end of my career, I was hanging on because I always wanted to play football. Sometimes you wish you could have walked away from it and gone and done something else.

‘Probably I would never have been happy doing anything else, but some people understand when it’s their time to retire and not be a footballer any more. They are happy to go on and get on with their lives.

‘Not all footballers love the game, to some it’s just a job. It’s hard when you do love football and it starts feeling like just a job.

‘I’m a little jealous. I was never one of those that was set up for life, I always thought football would be there and the next big move was just around the corner.

‘A lot of players these days are starting to think about it a lot more and preparing for life after football, which is good.

‘Unfortunately there are still the ones not ready to give up and, for some of them, it starts to go badly.’

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