A FORMER PRO FOOTBALLER has revealed how he gave up the beautiful game to do something else entirely.
Alan Comfort, 58, played from 1980 to 1989 before his career was cut short by injury and he made 250 senior appearances.
The ex-pro is now taking a very different path and is preparing to take up the post of vicar at St Andrew’s Church in Rushmere, Ipswich.
He played for QPR and worked under Terry Venables, Cambridge, Leyton Orient and Middlesbrough during his footballing days before becoming a minister in the Church of England.
After leaving the sport, Comfort spent 21 years as the club’s chaplain before leaving in 2014.
The footballer-turned-man-of-faith told the East Anglian Daily Times: “I never went to church for the first 19, almost 20 years of my life.
“I never knew anyone who left, it was a non-Christian zone for me.
“It wasn’t until I went to Cambridge that I met a Christian.”
Comfort met Graham Daniels, who was then playing for the team and is currently a director at Cambridge.
Alan continued: “He was known at club as the Christian and there were very few Christians in football at the time.
“I didn’t know what a Christian was, but I watched him and listened to him and saw what it meant to him.
“He always seemed so dynamic and alive and his teammates laughed at him, like in any male environment at the time, and he just kept going.
“He knew God had a plan for his life, and he knew God was with him, and I looked at him and I thought, can this really be true?”
At that point, Mr Comfort wanted to go to church, so on a Tuesday night he drove around Cambridge looking for a church that was open.
He said: “I thought it was going to really mess up my life because I knew things were going to change and I was hoping my relationships wouldn’t change.
“My parents, for example, wouldn’t necessarily take it well, which they didn’t, and I knew other players would have a hard time.
“I knew the manager was going to be difficult and he was, but I thought it would be the best thing I could ever do and I’ve never looked back.”
The former winger is moving to Ipswich and will take up the post of priest at St Andrew’s Church in Rushmere on April 17.
He said: “I am very happy to come here. We have many ideas and we come with a lot of enthusiasm.
“Cruch strives to connect with younger people in the way that is possible, and I think we came with the knowledge that if you do the right things, it can open up worlds for people , and it can be such a good thing.
“It’s not for everyone, but it’s a good thing and if presented properly, we can find something truly wonderful for every participant.”
The tricky winger scored 53 goals in 228 games during his time in the Football League.
Cult hero Comfort was also voted Leyton Orient’s second greatest player of all time in 1999.
One of the best wingers to have played for the club, he made 150 league appearances and scored 48 goals.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7677426/former-professional-footballer-quit-game-different/ I’m a former professional soccer player – I quit soccer to do something completely different