Former Barnsley defender Tom Kennedy is now a financial adviser helping his clients, most of whom are footballers, through the coronavirus pandemic. 

The 34-year-old, who played 75 games for the Reds between 2012 and 2014 as well as spells with Bury, Rochdale and Leicester City among others, is employed by Pro Sport Wealth Management who work with the Professional Footballers’ Association. 

He told the Chronicle: “I use my experience as an ex-player to try to educate players and put plans in place financially.  Football is a short career and lads sometimes don’t think far into the future.  We have clients from the Premier League down to League Two and it is my job to make sure life after football isn’t a financial struggle for them. We went into Barnsley a few years ago to talk to the players and we are due to go back in again.

“Since the coronavirus came to the fore, the amount of work has been ridiculous and crazy.  There is a lot of uncertainty going around in every walk of life, and football is no different.  It hasn’t been clear when the leagues will start again or how this might impact on players and clubs, especially in the lower leagues.  A lot of people, including footballers, are worried about their futures. 

“We’re just trying to be there for all of our clients and making sure they are doing the right things. It’s hit a lot of people like a ton of bricks but it’s up to us to help them as best we can while bearing in mind that jobs and finances aren’t as important as everyone’s health.” 

In Text Promo Image

Health secretary Matt Hancock last week called on footballers to take a paycut and, on Wednesday, a group of them announced that they would be donating money to NHS charities.  Kennedy said: “Players in the Premier League earn astronomical amounts of money but there are people earning that much or more in other walks of life. Footballers give a lot back to the government and the amazing NHS in tax, sometimes 50 per cent. I am not surprised at all that we have seen footballers wanting to help. I think a lot of players would be happy to take a paycut for a while but you can’t ask them all to do it because some clubs lower down the leagues might not be able to afford to pay their players in a few months if this carries on.” 

Kennedy was part of the Reds team which stayed in the Championship dramatically on the final day of the 2012/13 season then played the most games of any Barnsley player, with 44, as they went down the next campaign – before moving to Rochdale. 

He said: “I had pretty much two seasons of Championship football, which was the highest I played at in my career so I do have fond memories of being at Barnsley.  I enjoyed every second of it, even if it didn’t feel like that at the time, I know now that I did. I retired a couple of years ago and I can look back with some perspective.  They were the best times of my life, playing against really good players in the one of the best leagues in the world. 

“It was great to play in front of passionate fans at Oakwell, whether they were booing me or cheering me.  It was up and down, and there were tough times like when managers changed and especially the relegation, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  Staying up in 2013 was incredible but the next season was tough for everybody.  We probably didn’t recruit as well as we should have done.  We lost a few important players and we didn’t have the same family feel around the squad.  My personal performances probably weren’t good enough.”