Jamie Sendles-White has played football professionally since 2012 – yet at the age of 27, he has suddenly found himself without a club.
The Kingston-born central defender came through the ranks at Queens Park Rangers and represented Northern Ireland at U19, U20, and U21 levels.
He has also gone on to represent a number of clubs across the EFL and National League.
Having played for and captained Aldershot last season, Sendles-White turned down an extension with the Shots as he could not make the finances work and has been without a club since.
He said: “I turned the contract down at Aldershot because the finances didn’t work for me, with Covid happening I was earning less than I should have been anyway, without going into too much detail about the money. So I had to turn that one down.
“I’ve had a lot of offers since which are financially not enough for me to take – some people might say ‘that’s silly, you are turning down money,’ but when you sign a contract that isn’t enough for you to pay your mortgage and your bills, then it is very tough to do.
“Some of them have been a little bit disrespectful in terms of the level of club that has contacted me, and then some haven’t been able to work for whatever reason.
“I had one situation where I agreed to sign on a Friday and I was going in on the Monday to sign it, and the manager got sacked on the Saturday.”
Covid has greatly impacted football clubs, leaving them with less money to spend on players, which has led to many experienced players finding it more difficult to find a club.
He said: “I think when you get to a certain age and a certain experience, you are going to cost a certain amount of money.
“Due to Covid, clubs haven’t got a lot of money to spend on players or they are trying to low-ball everyone because they can at the moment.”
Being without a club throws up many challenges to football players, which takes its toll physically and mentally.
Sendles-White said: “I think the toughest part is the training on your own, and like you said it is the mental side of getting up and going out on your own, running around a park with a bag of balls and being in the gym on your own, that is the toughest bit as it can get really repetitive.
“But you have to just look at the end goal of being as ready as you can be when the opportunity comes.
“I’m quite lucky as I have got my coaching company where I coach every day in the evenings now, and that keeps me busy with doing something that I enjoy, and also it keeps the money coming in for the bills.
“The changing room is one of the parts of football I miss the most, being around the boys every day, being in the changing room, having a laugh, so that is tough.
“And the other thing I miss the most is the ten minutes after you have won a game and you have played well, I don’t think anything else can recreate that feeling.”
It can become a vicious cycle as time away from the game means it is tough to remain fully fit, but Sendles-White is confident that he will still be ready to go when the time comes.
He said: “I’m doing sessions like the one I posted the video of, I’m doing running and I’m doing gym work, I’m trying to hit all different angles.
“It is more intense, but it is nothing like playing against other players of a similar standard and playing in matches, you just cannot recreate that fitness.
“But I’d like to hope that doing what I am doing now means that I am not too far off when I get back.”
Even though Sendles-White has been out of the game for several months now, he is still eager as ever to return to playing.
He has this to say to potential suitors: “Give me a chance. I’ve got a lot more to give, I’m 27 – nearly 28, so I’m not ready to walk away yet.
“I’ve got a lot more to give and I’ve got a list of people that I need to prove wrong. I’m ready to go and I’m looking for that chance.”
Featured image credit: Swindon Town Football Club