The flip side of crossing the water

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A little over a month ago Shane Supple walked away from Ipswich Town just weeks after being awarded a lucrative new contract by manager Roy Keane. Supple stated he was leaving because he had “fallen out of love with the game”.

On the surface it’s hard to believe that a young lad like Supple, who is just 22, would walk away from the game after years of training and hard work. When you’ve played football from an early age, like all professional footballers do, you don’t just decide one day that I’ve had enough.

There can only be one reason for Supple’s departure and that is frustration. Frustration at not being able to nail down a first team place. Supple, who was a product of Ipswich’s academy and was part of the Tractor Boys FA Youth Cup triumph in 2005 when they beat Southampton. He also made 34 appearances in the first team, but found himself as second choice when Richard Wright arrived back at the club.

If Supple had been playing regular football then I don’t think he would have left the club. He told Ipswich’s website “I suppose you could say that I have fallen out of love with the game and when that happens I’ve always said to myself that I wouldn’t hang around.”

Luckily time is still on his side, so it’s probably better he fell out of love with the game now, and not in eight years time when he’s 30. At the moment he’s still a young lad, and could turn his hand to anything.

Since returning home to Ireland, the former Irish Under-21 has gone back to where it all began, St Brigid’s GAA club. This shows he hasn’t totally lost interest in football, or sport in general.

It’s not easy for anyone to turn their back on something they’ve done all their life, but it is a reminder that the game is not all about fame and fortune, and that moving across the water to follow your dream does not always work out.

“People probably think I’m crazy but I’m not going to stay in the game for anyone else, I’m making this decision for myself.”

I wish Shane every success in his life, and hope he finds the career he’s suited to.

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