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Lee Wilkie on his way to Aberdeen

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Just days after lifting the Scottish Cup with Dundee United, former skipper Lee Wilkie is severing his links with professional football to head for a new career on the North Sea oil rigs (writes Tom Duthie).

Next week, the Evening Telegraph columnist is off to Aberdeen to go through the mandatory safety training that allows him to work offshore.


While that will mark a seismic change in lifestyle for a man who starred for both city clubs and Scotland before his career was ended by injury last month, he insists he’s relishing the challenge.


And, if his need to get a job explodes the myth all full-time footballers earn fortunes, the 30-year-old feels he’ll have done his old profession a service.


“Next week, my life will take a new direction when I head up to Aberdeen to go through the offshore survival course,” he said.


Thanks to my old team-mate Mark Kerr, I’ve got fixed up with Team Recruitment and, although I don’t have a start date yet, I’ve met their boss and I’ll be working out in the North Sea.


“And I have to say I’m really looking forward to it.


“A few punters will be surprised, because there is a myth that footballers are all millionaires or at least have thousands in the bank. That’s not true — we’re not all John Terrys or Frank Lampards.


“I have no regrets about the career I’ve had, it’s been great and the memory of the cup final on Saturday will stay with me forever.


“What people seem to forget is I played for Dundee and then Dundee United, and that was reflected in my wages.


“Don’t get me wrong, I was well paid for doing a great job I loved, but it was not the thousands-of-pounds-a-week boys get in the English Premier League.


“I can remember when I was in the Scotland team, one of my mates who works in plumbing and heating was on more than me.


“I used to look at players like Barry Ferguson and Christian Dailly and hope one day I’d be on the same kind of money as them.”


The big man, though, has no complaints about missing out on five-figure weekly wage packets and is not worried about having to get a “real” job.


“It wasn’t to be and I’ve never been bitter about that. In fact, the only time I get bothered is when fans won’t believe I’m not rich. Just like everyone else, there are bills for me to pay and I need to get a job.


“The hours will be longer than I’m used to as a footballer and it means I’ll be spending two weeks at a time offshore, but I’m genuinely looking forward to it.


“It’s a new challenge and I’ll be happy to be doing something again, because the one thing I hate doing is sitting around.”

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Guest donindundonald

Best of Luck to him, the guy needs a break. I imagine having to give up football is very hard to deal with.

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Feel sorry for the big lad.  Never what you would call a talented football player.  But always commited to his teams cause and gave 100%


A lot might rip him but i still think if he played for Aberdeen would have been a good player for the dons.

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So what kind of job could he just walk in to offshore? I'd be willing to bet he's not studied a day in his life and now he's off to see if he can escape from a fake under water chopper and he'll be sent off shore? Jesus!

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