I could quit football and start a business after being released by Birmingham City

Tate Campbell has opened up on the Keep Right On Podcast after leaving Birmingham City
-Credit: (Image: Dennis Goodwin/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)


Tate Campbell is willing to walk away from full-time football after his Birmingham City release having become disillusioned with the injuries and politics involved in the beautiful game.

He was released by Blues in May with four professional appearances to his name. Due to a wretched run of hamstring injuries and the constant changing of managers, Campbell didn’t play for Blues in his final two years at the club.

It was during that time that he fell out of love with football and now doubts whether he will return to the game in a professional capacity. Speaking on the Keep Right On Podcast about his departure from Blues, whom he first joined in 2009, aged seven, Campbell said: “I could definitely see it coming. I’ve come back from injury and knew my time was up.

“If I’m being really honest, and really truthful, I could have got released a year ago or two years ago, so I’m grateful to Craig Gardner for sticking with me through the injuries. I know how football is, players better than me get injured and at the end of the season they are done. I felt as though I was on borrowed time with my injuries so I’m almost grateful that I got this long.

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“I have a lot of mixed emotions. I’m the last one in my age group but it’s worth only so much if you don’t make it to the top – even things like that I’m proud of. At the same time, it’s a what if injuries didn’t happen at certain times then I could be sitting here having a different conversation with you guys.

“Going forward I’m still deciding whether I want to carry on playing football with the injuries and how it’s gone. If I am going to play it will maybe be at a part-time capacity just to get back enjoying it. You never know, if I drop down to a level that’s too easy for me I could shoot back up into the league.

“But for now I want to focus on other things, going into business and things like that. I will potentially play part-time if it’s right for me. If not, I will leave the football there and crack on with life.”

Campbell speaks with a maturity that belies his 21 years. He has already started drawing up a business plan to create a new life for himself away from the confines of the training ground.

He added: “I love football and it’s always been a passion but I also know there’s so many ways to be successful other than football. When you’re in the football bubble, it might not seem so obvious, it’s presented to you that it’s this or nothing, but I’ve always known that I’m a smart lad, I can find ways to be successful out of the game.”

Listen to the full podcast with Campbell below...

Two years ago Campbell was in a very different frame of mind. John Eustace had just been named head coach and Campbell was out to impress. Even last summer, in Eustace’s second pre-season at the helm, Campbell’s athleticism set him apart from his teammates and he made a positive impression in early friendlies.

“The pre-season he came in I made an effort to show him what I could do in the early games,” Campbell said. “Keith Downing believed in me quite a bit, and Gards (Matt Gardiner). I think they were top, top coaches. Out of all the managers I dealt with, it was definitely that group that saw something in me.

“I was always involved and always part of the sessions. In football injuries always happen, so maybe if someone had got injured I would have been next in line. I felt like they had a plan for me but the way things went it just didn’t materialise.

“Before all the hamstring injuries.... before then I was doing well in training, I made my debut in the Championship, back then I was really enjoying it and thought it was the life for me. But with the injuries and the politics, and all this stuff combined, it’s quite a lot.

“I know it’s going to sound crazy to fans who would give their left arm to be in my position but when you’re in it it’s a lot to keep getting setbacks, to keep getting told no, or to keep getting told it’s six to eight weeks before you can go back and run again.

“I’ve got so far so it may seem silly to give up but, for me personally, I know what I need to do to be happy and that’s what life is all about.”