The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Joshua Richards

WHEN foot­ballers turn 30, those not lucky enough to earn six-fig­ure salaries each week tend to make plans for the fu­ture know­ing time will soon be up for their weary legs.

But Cam­bridge United striker Rob­bie Simp­son ad­mits he was pre­par­ing for re­tire­ment be­fore he had even kicked his first ball in anger!

Af­ter be­ing tied to Nor­wich City for six years dur­ing his school days, Simp­son al­ways looked likely to make the grade.

But he left Car­row Road in 2002 and went to Lough­bor- ough Uni­ver­sity to study for a maths and sports science de­gree while play­ing for Cam­bridge City.

A trans­fer to the city’s higher level club fol­lowed and a Foot­ball League ca­reer be­gan.


Now back at Cam­bridge af­ter run­ning out in five other clubs’ colours in the in­ter­ven­ing years, Simp­son struck his eighth goal of the sea­son against Steve­nage a cou­ple of weeks ago – just hours be­fore turn­ing 30.

A quiet night in rather than a big blow-out fol­lowed, yet his com­ing of age does not mean he has to start com­ing to terms with im­pend­ing re­tire­ment – be­cause he’s been do­ing it for years.

“I’m a bit dif­fer­ent to the ma­jor­ity,” he said. “I thought about my fu­ture be­fore I started, I’ve been to uni­ver­sity and got my de­gree.

“From a young age I wanted to gain enough qual­i­fi­ca­tions to go into what­ever it is I de­cide to do. I’ve started my coach­ing badges as well, and have a few other things go­ing on, so hope­fully I will be ready for what­ever life throws at me, whether I stay in the game or not.

“But I think I have a good few play­ing years left in me yet. In my opin­ion, 30 is the new 20!

“The fit­ness lev­els of play­ers over 30 now are amaz­ing, so you might go on a bit longer, but it’s still not for­ever so you still need some qual­i­fi­ca­tions be­hind you.”


On the pitch, the U’s were ly­ing 18th in the League Two ta­ble be­fore yes­ter­day’s trip to bot­tom club Hartle­pool.

Yet Simp­son in­sists he has no re­grets about re­turn­ing to where it all be­gan af­ter leav­ing Ley­ton Ori­ent in the sum­mer.

“Cam­bridge gave me my start,” added the for­mer Coven­try, Hud­der­s­field, Brent­ford and Old­ham hit­man.

“I wanted to come back be­cause I felt I could achieve some­thing with the club now back in the Foot­ball League.

“I have a few friends who work at the club and I have moved a bit nearer Cam­bridge now. At the mo­ment, I’m very happy.

“Per­haps things have not quite gone as we would have planned this sea­son. But if we were in the play-off places, peo­ple would say we had over-achieved.

“It’s been a tran­si­tional year, but hope­fully we will stay up, then who knows where we can go in the fu­ture?”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

GET­TING STUCK IN: Rob­bie Simp­son wants to keep on play­ing for a long time yet

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