5 Former Pros Who are In Non-League Football Today

football match at duskhttps://unsplash.com/photos/people-watching-soccer-arena-qowyMze7jqg

Their times in the top leagues might be over, but the former pros we will discuss in this article are still playing their best down the pyramid. And while players such as Tyrone Mings, Michail Antonio, and Dan Burn started their way from non-league to the top, others went in the opposite direction, from the top leagues to non-leagues.

While they have faced a significant decline over the years, it’s quite inspiring that they have never given up on their dreams of playing football and are still around today, making us proud. Here are 5 former pros who are now playing in non-league football.

Leroy Lita

Leroy Lita is a non-league journeyman who started his career at Bristol City. He scored 38 goals in 100 games for the Robins before making his way to Reading. If you’re an avid FanDuel Euro betting fan, you know he was part of the Royals side that broke the record for the most championship points in history, 106 goals. After that, he made 47 appearances in the Premier League.

Lita then proceeded to have quite a long history of being a pro footballer, spending his career in Norwich, Middlesbrough, and Swansea. He dropped down to non-league football after a spell in Thailand. So far, in his career in non-league, he played for Salisbury, Margate, and Chelmsford before relocating to the Midlands.

After joining Nuneaton Borough in 2020, he has since turned out for Hednesford Town, Coalville Town, and Ilkeston. Last season, Lita scored 27 goals in the Southern League Premier Division Central. And this year, he has signed for Barwell, the 24th club of his football career.

Nathan Delfouneso

natahn delfouneso
Jonaldinho2004 at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nathan Delfouneso, a Former England Under 21 international, has seen his career decline since emerging as one of the brightest strikers at Aston Villa. During his boyhood club, he netted nine goals in his 51 appearances, then was loaned out five times before settling in Blackpool.

After that, Delfouneso signed for Bolton in August 2020. He netted 8 goals in 47 matches during his debut campaign in the club. After that, he was loaned out to Bradford and spent significant time at Accrington Stanley before dropping out of the league for the first time in his career with non-league Flyde.

Pascal Chimbonda

Defender Pascal Chimbonda moved to Wigan for a 500k pound contract in 2005 after leaving his former team, Bastia, in France. He became a regular in the Premier League for several years, including 100 appearances in Tottenham. After that, he hung up his boots after a short time with Ligue 2.

However, Chimbonda went out of retirement sometime later and was featured for the non-league side Washington. After that, he signed a one-month contract at a sixth-tier outfit for Ashton Town. He then spent some time away from the game before becoming a North West Counties League Premier Division Side manager.

Fans were shocked when he signed himself back in January. So far, he is doing a good job as a player again and has started each of their last nine matches this year. His career is far from over, and he is slowly making a name for himself again.

Jordon Ibe

jordan ibe training with liverpool fc 2014
md.faisalzaman from Shrewsbury, MA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

After bursting out of the scene in League One in Wycombe, Jordin Ibe signed with Liverpool back in 2011 while he was still 16. The winger teamed up with the club’s Under 18s and then made his debut on the final day of the 2012-13 season against the Queens Park Rangers.

After spending some time on a loan out for Derby and Birmingham, Ibe went back to Anfield and cemented himself as a regular in the senior squad. During season 2015-16, Ibe scored 4 goals and provided four assists in 41 matches for Liverpool. After that, he secured a 15 million-pound move to Bournemouth.

Ibe struggled a lot in his first season with the club on the south coast. He finished his campaign without any score in all 26 appearances. He didn’t net his first goal until January 2018 in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal. After that, he spent four years at the Cherries before being released in 2020.

However, later that year, he was expected to return to Derby but that didn’t come to fruition. He made one more appearance for the Rams and then spoke in January 2021 about his depression. Ibe spent some time away from the games before appearing in the National League side Ebbsfleet in October.

Danny Fox

Some fans suggested that Maynard would be the very first ex-Premier League player to be in the third tier of Cheshire. However, Southampton Defender Danny Fox proved this untrue seven days before.

Danny Fox was a former pro who played in the Champions League for Celtic. He was born in Winsford and plays for the same club as Maynard. And scored in a game won against Haydock FC while playing for Town.

Final Words

While these former pros have gone on to play in non-league, that doesn’t mean that their careers are over. Players who star in non-league will eventually return to the top leagues to play their best. And it can be the same for former pros. Their time in the top leagues might be over, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance to go back up there.

By Bob