If you were just named Reserve Player of the Season at Manchester United, were training with the likes of Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic on a daily basis and were being paid to do so would you throw it all away to study Economics at Durham University? I know I wouldn’t.
But Oliver Gill has opted for exams, lectures and deadlines instead of Fergie, crunching tackles, and glory.
Gill, the son of United Chief Exectuive David, had rejected an offer from Durham this time last year to concentrate solely on his football but it appears he’s had a change of heart this time around. With United signing young defender Phil Jones and the revelation that was Chris Smalling last season, it’s not difficult to see why he couldn’t see a future for himself at Old Trafford but he could have surely made the grade elsewhere like so many of United’s reserves have.
He was highly regarded at Old Trafford and despite cynics pointing to the fact that his old man is the boss upstairs, he has shone for the reserves in the past two seasons and has been unlucky not to make a first team appearance although he did make the bench against Bolton and West Ham in the league last season.
But instead of the lavish lifestyle of a Premier League footballer, Gill has chosen to follow his father David, United’s chief executive, into the world of economics and has enrolled at Durham University.
Gill, 20, was offered a new contract at Old Trafford after he was named reserve Player of the Year but has chosen the world of academia instead.
He had the same dilemma last year but opted to remain at the club and played four times while on loan at League Two side Bradford.
It takes a lot of guts to throw in the towel at such a young age and admit that you’re not good enough to play at the highest level and it seems Gill has made this admirable decision because he’d rather excel at a profession instead of being a mediocre footballer.
It was expected that he’d go on loan again this term to further his experiences but he’s decided to pack it all in, quit United and football and he will be joining his fellow students at Durham in late September.
His dad is a trained accountant and joined the club in 1997 as finance director before being promoted.
Gill junior didn’t have an easy time at United with fans at Old Trafford using him to show their disgust at his father’s involvement with the Glazer family.
He was on the bench during a 3-0 defeat of Fulham two years ago but his name was booed when it was read out before kick-off.
The teenager had also been verbally abused during some of United’s reserve matches and conducted one post-match interview on the in-house TV station while supporters in the background responded by singing a song to denigrate Malcolm Glazer’s ownership of the club.
Who knows, his father might be keeping the seat warm for him to take over as Chief Executive one day?