Many footballers plan their future after their playing career has ended but Sean Rigg has decided to ditch his boots for a tattoo machine at the age of 29.
The former Port Vale forward cancelled his contract with League Two Newport on Monday to pursue his dream of becoming a tattoo artist – just two days before Mike Flynn’s side travel to Wembley for their FA Cup fourth round replay with Tottenham.
Rigg started his career at Bristol Rovers before loan spells at Grays Athletic and Forest Green. He also played for Oxford and AFC Wimbledon during his 12-year football career.
Rigg, speaking in 2014, told the Evening Standard how his interest in tattoos developed during his time at Vale : “I was really into art at school. When I was playing for Port Vale and getting some tattoos done in Stoke-on-Trent a few years ago, I got quite friendly with a tattoo artist and he took me on a part-time apprenticeship.
“I would go down to his studio after training and stay there until about 6pm. His studio was only two minutes from our stadium, which was ideal, so that gave me a bit of experience and helped me learn the tricks of the trade. The best way to go is doing an apprenticeship under a good artist.
“Looking to the future, you need something to fall back on after football. Even during your playing days, you could pick up a really bad injury that ends your career.”
Rigg is not the first player to retire early to pursue other ventures, with former England international David Bentley quitting the game at the age of 29 to co-own a restaurant in Marbella.
Former Sheffield United and Birmingham midfielder Curtis Woodhouse also turned his back on the sport to take up professional boxing at 26, becoming the British light-welterweight champion in 2014.