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Saturday, 29 July, 2000, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
A game of two halves
Rowbotham could have had a top flight career
Rowbotham could have had a top flight career
Most top footballers agree they are paid ridiculously high wages.

But in the next breath, they qualify that by saying they never know when their career could come to an abrupt end.

Darren Rowbotham knows only too well how a top flight career can be snatched from beneath one's eyes.

In 1990, the then 23-year-old was flying high with Exeter City.

He had scored 31 goals and a highly lucrative move to Chelsea was on the cards.


Of course I envy the money some players are earning, I think we all do
  Darren Rowbotham

But then disaster struck when he suffered a serious knee injury.

He was sidelined for a year but did manage to get his professional career back on track.

However the top flight that once beckoned was now gone and Rowbotham made his living in the second and third divisions.

Now Rowbotham is training alone and waiting for the phone to ring after being released by Third Division Exeter City.

Hounded

He is not bitter and just grateful to still be playing at the age of 33.

But while players such as Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit were sealing big-money moves to Barcelona, Rowbotham would be happy with a 30,000-a-YEAR contract.

This is the average wage for a player at that level.

Rowbotham said: "It is the first time in my career I haven't had a club in the summer.

"Hopefully something will crop up in the near future.


I have never had massive money but I am comfortably off
  Darren Rowbotham
"Of course I envy the money some players are earning, I think we all do.

"But it can bring its own problems.

"They are so high profile and seem to be hounded all the time.

"I have never had massive money but I am comfortably off.

"It's a great life and banter at training is something I enjoy.

"You only work a couple of hours a day and I have seen my kids, Joseph and Ellis grow up.

"That's important to me."

Bitter

Exeter have granted Rowbotham a testimonial match against West Ham on Wednesday.

He is hoping to pocket 40,000 from his testimonial year - a week's wages for a top Premiership player.

The gulf between the top and average players continues to widen.

But Rowbotham is not bitter.

He just hopes a club will come in for him but time is running out.

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28 Jul 00 |  Exeter City
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