Stars In Their Eyes
When Saturday Comes|March 2018

From cricketers to athletes, plenty of sportsmen have tried to carve out a career in football – though few have switched disciplines with much success.

Jon Spurling

“I’ve spoken to Alex Ferguson and I told him he needs to put in a good word,” said the newly retired Usain Bolt at the beginning of January. “He told me if I get fit and ready, he will see what he can do.” The reigning Olympic 100 and 200 metre champion has long held the ambition of becoming a professional footballer once his track career ended. Although his wish to play for United (presumably Bolt knows Ferguson is no longer manager at Old Trafford) is pie in the sky, he has recently trained with South African club Mamelodi Sundowns, and has a trial arranged with Borussia Dortmund in March.

According to the BBC, Bolt was less than impressed with his efforts in South Africa, admitting: “When I get back to Jamaica I need more training because I’m unfit.” For a sportsman noted for his supreme self-confidence and often grandiose public utterances, Bolt downplayed the subject of his make or break trial in Dortmund: “I’ll do the soccer trial – then I can decide whether it makes sense to do it, or if it doesn’t make sense.” The 31-year-old is right to strike a note of caution with regards to making this particular sporting switch, if history is anything to go by.

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