Speaking on ‘Talk of the Vale’, the official club podcast, Leon Legge has admitted that he considered giving up professional football before playing under Justin Edinburgh at Gillingham.
The 34-year-old played under three managers during his time at the Gills, one of them being Edinburgh who reignited Legge’s love for the game after taking over as manager in 2015.
The Vale centre-half questioned why he was still playing professional football, and even contemplated dropping back down to non-league where he enjoyed the game the most.
Legge currently plays a key role in the Vale side under John Askey, and claims that he now loves football more than he did before
He said: "There was one stage in my career where I nearly gave it up, I just couldn't be bothered with it. When you know you love a game so much, certain people you come across can put you off of that .I questioned why I was even coming into training and doing what I was doing, when it got to that point I was thinking to myself, go back to when you loved it and that was non-league football.
“I didn’t want to hate the game because I loved it so much, so there was a point where that happened but then I came across Justin Edinburgh, rest in peace, and he brought that passion for football back out in me.
“Even though I only worked for him for seven or eight months, he just brought me back into that zone where I loved it again and I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and go back to training and be with the lads, and the confidence was back for the Saturday.
“When I went to Cambridge I ended playing for one of his old teammates, Shaun Derry and I suppose I flourished under him as well. Since then I’ve never looked back, I’m still loving it and I think I love it even more now.”
Legge spent a lot of his early career playing in non-league and didn’t make his professional debut until he was 24, and speaking on the club podcast, the centre-half admitted that he used to work as a bouncer as well as a full-time carer in case football didn’t work out.
The 34-year-old got his first job when he was thirteen, and says that his hard work in his younger days has helped the development of his football career.
His route to professional football may seem unorthodox compared to young players today, yet Legge emphasises that it was a humbling experience for him.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do if football didn’t work out, so I did a course as a security guard, I’ve got the certificate at home. I was thinking that I didn’t really go out on a Saturday night, so rather than sitting indoors I might as well make a bit of money. If it meant standing outside a club for a few hours making a bit of money, that’s what I was going to do.
“I’d say I was a quite a hard worker, my first job was when I was 13 years-old so I wasn’t shy to hard work, I’ve had many different jobs when I was younger, and if there was a job going about id go and do it if it meant making a bit of money.
“Some young lads, I don’t think they realise how lucky they’ve got it. It’s a hard one for young lads who all they know is football, but if you took them out of that into the real world, I think some of them would struggle.
To listen to 'Talk of the Vale' on Spotify click here: LISTEN ON SPOTIFY
To listen to 'Talk of the Vale' on iTunes click here: LISTEN ON ITUNES