He was the long-haired, supremely-talented Cockney who thrilled the Bramall Lane crowds and was later voted Sheffield United’s greatest ever football player.
But Tony Currie, now in his 67th year, admits he gets almost as much satisfaction from his community work as he derived from his stellar playing career which also took in spells at Leeds, QPR and, of course, England.
“It may be an exaggeration to say that it saved my life, but there’s no doubt it was a life saver,” Currie says, of his work with the PFA’s Football in the Community Scheme.
Currie, fresh from his testimonial in 1986, spent six months ‘messing about’ and was living with his mum before he got the job as United’s community officer in 1988.
“I wasn’t qualified to do anything,” he remembers.
““I’d been out of the game for five years, I didn’t have any coaching badges, I was just feeling very sorry for myself, living at home with my Mum, I was absolutely lost and in a pretty bad way at 33 years of age. This really did put me back on my feet.
“We were all getting paid £105 a week by the PFA as I remember it, which was £105 more than I was getting at the time. There was quite a regular turn over of staff at the outset but we made a lot of positive progress. Then, after four years, we were on our own and had to raise our own funds, through soccer schools, sports clubs and the like.
“It taught me how to deal with people in a very different way. I’m very proud of what I accomplished.”
n The PFA this month celebrates 30 years working with football clubs in their local communities. For more information, visit www.thepfa.com/community.