Ryan Garry: what it’s like to have your career taken away from you

Please note that since this article was originally published, Ryan has returned to Arsenal as under 13s coach at the Academy.

Imagine being talented enough to play for Arsenal, starting for the first time in the first game of the run of 49 unbeaten games, and then never playing for the club again.

That was the fate of Ryan Garry.  The world must have seemed to be at his feet after appearing in that wonderful 6-1 win against Southampton on 7 May 2003, in which Robert Pirès and Jermaine Pennant got hat tricks.

Ryan was born on 29 September 1983 and had been with Arsenal since 1999, won the youth cup in 2001 and signed professional forms shortly after.

Then he got shin splints, and there was the thought he would never play again.   So he was released in the summer of 2007 and joined Bournemouth six months later following a trial.

That was a happier time and in all he played 76 times for Bournemouth.   But in July 2011 the injury jinx came back to haunt him and he had to give up playing, and moved on to be first team defensive coach and reserves team manager under manager Lee Bradbury.

However that too ended – and through no fault of his own, when the management of the club was changed in 2012.
Ryan’s next (and indeed current) job is with the Nike Football Academy at Loughborough – an Academy I mentioned recently because of the game arranged for Benik Afobe’s comeback.The Nike Academy is a club for under 20 year old players who have not got a club.  It is centred around Loughborough University – which has since its days as a Polytechnic has been a centre for excellence in sport, and is sponsored by the Premier League.   The aim of the academy is to help the players find a club.Ryan Garry is assistant coach, and I guess shares with some of the players there the feelings of elation turning to intense dismay and frustration as the promise of a footballing career turns to ashes.

The books…


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