Jermaine Jenas reveals he felt WORTHLESS after retiring as a Premier League footballer – and admits he ‘lost family members’ after being ‘stabbed in the back’ while running his business
- Jermaine Jenas is a presenter on the One Show and a pundit for Match of the Day
- The ex-England star also co-founded an education business with his best friend
- Jenas has opened up about his self-worth seven years on from his retirement
Jermaine Jenas felt worthless after retiring as Premier League footballer and was betrayed by family members during his early years as a businessman, the ex-England international revealed on Thursday.
The former midfielder, who has since become a regular day-time presenter and football pundit on The One Show and Match of the Day respectively, opened up about his life after retirement and revealed some of the personal struggles he endured while co-founding and running his business.
Aquinas Education offers football tickets to truant students at disadvantaged schools if they can achieve a 100% attendance. The business began in Nottingham and has since expanded into London schools.
Becoming an entrepreneur was one of the post-retirement projects Jenas underwent in order to escape the feeling of worthlessness at home.
Having enjoyed a storied career at Nottingham Forest, Newcastle, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers before hanging up his boots, Jenas initially struggled to find a purpose after his playing days.
Jermaine Jenas has admitted that he felt worthless after retiring as Premier League footballer
But business, television presenting and punditry helped Jenas rediscover his purpose in life
‘I felt like I was just worthless in the house. I’d gone from being Jermaine Jenas the footballer, walking in every day with your chest out, to nothing,’ he Scott Thomas’ Learning As I Go podcast.
‘As a young footballer, I was fearless. I’m in the tunnels with like (Patrick) Vieira, (Robert) Pires, (Thierry) Henry and I’m like: “This is nuts! I was literally watching these guys two minutes ago”.
‘But one of the things I’ve prided myself on is my close friends. I have two best friends and we’ve been close forever. One of them is Vaughan, he’s just come out of the army, and the other is Craig Anderson, who I started my business with.
‘He came to me in 2008-09 and I was at an age where I was already starting to think about life post-football. He came to me for investment – he didn’t need to, I’d have given him the money for free – but said he had this idea about education. And I thought this was great as I could go back into schools and give something back.
‘And in time, I started getting into the business side of things and really enjoyed it, how to develop a business, how to grow it and how to be a people person. My mate even sent me into a school once as a teaching assistant!’
Despite relishing the new challenge of running a business, Jenas has also endured plenty of personal struggles as the co-founder of Aquinas Education.
Opening up about his business, Jenas revealed he has been ‘betrayed’ by people close to him
‘You don’t make it that long unless you’ve been through certain experiences,’ Jenas added. ‘We’ve had almost every experience.
‘People trying to rob us blind, people who worked for us as well. I’ve had people really close to me betray me. And yeah, it’s been very hurtful at times, that side of it. I’ve lost family members along the way, which has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with.
‘For me, a nice people-person, I try and bring people along with me. I’ve taken people out of difficult situations in their own lives where they were less fortunate, and brought them in, trained them, given them a great wage – and for them to stab you in the back was quite tough at the time.’
Being a high-profile figure in football and on television has also led clients and business partners to question his role as an entrepreneur, the former England star revealed.
‘The biggest question I still get asked to this day is: “What are you doing here?”. Any kind of investors coming in, they’ll ask: “What do you bring to the table?”. But I think it’s a fair question,’ he continued.
Branching away from football, Jenas (top left) became a regular presenter on The One Show
‘They’re thinking “I’m in an education recruitment business and I’ve got Jermaine Jenas sitting in front of me. He’s not going to be in the office every week, so what’s he doing?
‘I just tell them the story, my interest in the business, my value to the business, my day-to-day involvement. Me and my best friend speak every single day about the business.
‘I’ve had imposter syndrome so often in my career and in my life that I know how to manage it now.
‘I feel quite calm in my life and quite peaceful now. And I think, if you’ve got that, you’re rich.’
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