What do you do after retiring from playing football in your early fourties? Most professionals go into management, coaching, the media or something where the vast knowledge built over many years can be used. Others like Eric Cantona and Vinnie Jones found a new talent in acting to become movie stars. If you were the man who proved to be the ace in the pack when Manchester United completed that history making treble in 1999 however, you take a totally different career path like Teddy Sheringham did.
As any United fan worth his salt will tell you, Sheringham was the man who came off the bench on that night in Barcelona, first saved the game with an equaliser deep into injury time then had a hand – or should that be a head, in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winner when his headed flick-on was slammed into the net with virtually the last kick of a momentous season.
Sheringham remained at Old Trafford for two more seasons then continued playing for various clubs until he ended up at Colchester United from where he announced his retirement at the end of the 2007-08 season. It made him one of an elite list of players who made more than 700 League appearances in their career
So how do you follow that up at 42 years of age? Simple, you become a professional poker player. Sheringham has become a noticeable figure in the world of poker, playing in various competitions worldwide. He made a notable run in the World Series of Poker main event in London where he finished 14th out of 334 players
Poker Stars UK, an organisation which runs the World Championship of Online Poker recently spent a few minutes talking to Sheringham about his new career and memories from his many years in football where he revealed a few surprises.
You’re involved with Poker Stars. How long have you been into poker?
I’ve been playing for about eight or nine years now – the first three of those were spent getting spanked and losing a few quid! I’ve turned it round a bit and I’m on an even keel now.
What’s the best you’ve done in tournaments?
I’ve cashed in the last three big tournaments I’ve played in. I went to Monte Carlo and only came 103 but that was out of 850 which was quite good so I got a few quid for that, £20,000 to be exact. Then there was the World Series of Poker in London where I came 14th and scooped £45,000, so I’m doing all right.
You must have played a bit during your playing days too.
Yeah of course, on the team coach, in the hotel, or in a few little dives around London. Plenty of smoky back rooms filled with dodgy characters.
Were any of your former team-mates was a bit handy?
The normal ones you’d expect really like Michael Owen. David James would always play. Kieron Dyer would have a game. At Manchester United Dwight Yorke and Mark Bosnich used to play too. We all took it in turns to win big and lose big, that’s the way cards works.
Who was your sporting hero?
Kenny Dalglish. I was always a striker as a kid scoring loads of goals but I really liked the way he also brought others into the game.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a footballer?
Who knows? I haven’t got a clue. I’ve never enjoyed anything else like I’ve enjoyed football and I’ve loved every minute of my career.
You’ve been fortunate enough to work under some great managers in your time. Who was the best?
They were all great in their own way but I think Fergie’s record speaks for itself.
Who was the opponent that you most enjoyed beating?
Arsenal, without a doubt. They always gave me so much stick, whatever club I was at so it was nice when I beat them.
Who was the biggest character in the dressing room?
Paul Gascoigne of course, was always a good laugh. He could be sitting at the back of the coach, not talking to anyone in particular. You could lose him for a couple of minutes then he’d be absolutely hysterical for a few minutes and then just keep on talking until he hit upon something that made everyone laugh again.
What was the proudest moment of your career?
Everyone always talks about the goal in the Champions League final, but I think playing for England at Wembley in Euro 96 was the pinnacle of my career.
Sheringham has won a swag of honours during his long career including three Premierships, a Champions League, an FA Cup and 51 England caps. Having collected so many football medals, he is now quite happy to win poker chips instead.
Do you have any special memories of Sheringham’s days at Old Trafford?
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