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Grecians defender Baldwin ahead of the game in thinking about life after football

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

Footballer and Western Morning News columnist Pat Baldwin picture: Pinnacle

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A footballer's career is certainly a short one and the thought of life after hanging up their boots is something which hits many players as they reach the latter stages of their playing days.

Of course, those at the top will have earnt enough from the game to never work again. There are arguments for and against the amounts footballers get payed, but the lower down the league pyramid you go, the more apparent it is that a career in football may not set you up for life.

Exeter City's Pat Baldwin has already taken the first steps towards life after football by turning his hand to journalism. At 30, the former Colchester United and Southend stopper still has a few years left in the game yet, but when the time does come to hang up his boots, he wants to be ready to embark on a different career.

"I was thinking of going into teaching and being a primary school teacher and I was looking at online courses, distance online courses for degrees," he said. "All of them were five years, so I had a look at the PFA's website and they had a two-year degree course, which was sports, media and broadcasting.

"The more I read up on it, the more interested I became and saw how relevant it was to my career and I thought: Why not?

"I have a week's residential this summer and again next summer, but that is if I get on the course, although I have been told that I will get on it.

"The course is spread over a lot of areas of the media, such as radio, television and obviously writing. It sounds really interesting and you get a degree at the end of it. It's something I will be looking to do in the future."

Rather unfairly, footballers have a reputation for being a bit thick, so does Baldwin fall into that category? "I was pretty good at school," he said. "I messed about a bit and had a reputation for being a bit of a joker. But I still did my work when I needed to because I was scared stiff that my Mum would find out and I'd get into trouble, so I had to behave."

Baldwin is certainly taking his course seriously. Outside of training, he spends most Monday evenings watching Graham Kirk and Barry Fulls host the Kellow's Bootlaces radio show, which goes out across Exeter on Radio Exe and online. He has also agreed to write a weekly column in the Western Morning News, which appears in Saturday's edition of the paper.

"I'm really enjoying it. I have got myself into a good routine where I give myself some time to do it after my little nap in the afternoon," he said. "That is the best time for me to write and it is a good form of therapy if you like. It's good to get it all out on paper and as I said, it's something I've enjoyed doing.

"I couldn't care less if I upset my team-mates. But you do need to be careful and claw back some of the things you say, especially when it comes to tactics and stuff that you can't really give away to the general public. But in terms of training ground stories and the things that go on, it is great to let the fans know what goes on and I feel I am in a privilidged position to be able to do it."

Baldwin's column today is his fifth so far and it seems they get better by the week. That, though, is something of a contradiction for the author.

"I find it harder because I am running out of ideas!" he said. "Anything funny that happens in training, I will jot that down and I have plenty for this week and I look forward to writing it."

Judging by the response of the Exeter supporters, it seems they enjoy reading it as well.

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