Graham Cummins: Football is all I've known and it's scary to think what the future holds after Waterford laid us off

Graham Cummins: Football is all I've known and it's scary to think what the future holds after Waterford laid us off
Dundalk's Pat Hoban with former Cork City striker Graham Cummins, who has been let go by Waterford. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Cork's Graham Cummins is among the players who were informed on Monday night they were being laid off by Waterford as the League of Ireland struggles in the Covid-19 sporting shutdown...

Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

IT'S not a surprise that Waterford have had to temporarily lay us off. 

With so much uncertainty surrounding the future of the league, I’m just surprised it has taken this long for the club to come to this decision. 

League of Ireland clubs aren’t blessed with vast amounts of money that they can continue to pay players without any income. Up until this point, the club had been paying us through the government’s wage subsidy scheme.

I was disappointed how the news was broken to players through email. It would have been much better to be given some sort of warning what was coming. 

I actually found out through the players' group chat. There are ways to tell people they are losing their jobs and by email isn’t one of them. I would have expected it to be perhaps a phone call from the manager but as most of you know by now he only found out at the same time and same way as the rest of the players and staff.

Even though I expected it, it still hurt reading that the club would no longer be continuing to pay us.

It’s been tough mentally for everyone during lockdown but I always held hope that at the end of this that I would be back playing football but I don’t see that happening. I have been told it’s a temporary lay off but I don’t think that will be the case, I see it as permanent.

I don’t see football returning in this country this year. 

Players on the team are unsure of what this news means. Are they free to find other jobs? Are they free to join other clubs in the future in different countries? 

Technically a player had to wait for four weeks without being paid before they become a free agent unless the player and the club sign a contract cancellation, which none of us have.

As long as I was getting paid by the club during these difficult times I always had hope that I would be back playing again and still felt like a footballer. Right now, I see myself as unemployed and a person who needs to look for a new career which does scare me. 

Football has been all I’ve ever known and it scares me to think of what the future holds. I would love to carry on playing but if the league doesn’t resume this year then I cannot afford to wait around another nine months for the 2021 campaign to begin.

I hope this is not the end of my playing days but right now, I don’t see any other outcome. I have to start thinking about the future and life without football and I would imagine there are a lot of players in the same boat as me. 

These are worrying times for everyone and especially for older players like myself who have families to support.

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