Former Championship forward accuses PFA of not supporting former players

A former Championship striker has claimed that the PFA and lower-level professional football clubs are failing to support players after their careers.


“Clubs definitely need to do more, and the PFA need to do more. I think players need to be advised about what they’re going to do once they finish their careers.


“I know they are doing a lot more with the younger lads, but for the older ones, I think a lot more needs to be done.”


Aaron McLean, formerly of Peterborough and Hull City, has admitted that many of his friends have struggled financially and mentally after their careers.


“I know a lot of people that have had good careers and played a lot of games. And once their career comes to an end, I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with mental health and financially, just because football is all they’ve ever known. The PFA might be there when something goes terribly wrong, but I don’t think there’s enough done in terms of prevention.


“Prevention is where we need to focus so that people don’t have to hit rock bottom to then go and seek help.”


McLean first went into coaching after retirement, but it was not a long-term career option for him.


“Clubs that I’ve played for in the past have been welcoming in bringing me in and giving me opportunities to learn my trade in coaching. But not everyone has that luxury, not everyone has got the relationships with those clubs that I’ve got. And even with my relationships, my relationship with Peterborough was probably the best it is with any club, and I still lost my job due to COVID. So your relationships will only take you so far.”


Starting his career at then League One Leyton Orient, McLean played all over the Football Leagues, even earning one Premier League appearance with Hull City.


Playing for some major clubs earned McLean decent wages during his 19-year playing career, giving him a bit of a cushion when he retired.


“I was a coach for a few years, two years at Peterborough after a year at Ebbsfleet, and the money is not great. I was lucky that I played for a long time played at high level. I was using my own money to cover my bills.”


McLean now works as a pundit for BT Sport primarily covering Non-League football, which has allowed him to continue a career around the sport.


“I work in the media now, but not everyone wants to be in the media, not everyone’s built for it.


McLean’s career in media is something that just dropped into his lap when the pandemic started.


“I got let go from Peterborough when COVID hit and did a Skype interview the next day as one of the casualties of the pandemic and it just kind of went from there.


“The producers liked how I presented myself on camera and asked if I wanted to come in and do some punditry.”


As a former fan-favourite, McLean also had some surprisingly cynical input on the Championship relegation battle involving his former club Peterborough.


I think that Derby will be able to pick up enough points to probably be able to move out of out of the relegation places. And I fear that Peterborough are probably gonna be a team that that gets pushed even even further into it.”