Not every career leads steeply upwards
In 2011, Dale Jennings (25) was still regarded as one of the greatest talents in English football. The then 18-year-old wing forward switched from third-league club Tranmere Rovers to FC Bayern Munich for almost 2.3 million euros.
Everything looked like a bright future for the German record champion. But it came quite differently.
Today, in October 2018, Jennings dares a new start at Runcorn Town. In the 9th English League. He had been clubless for almost three years before, and during this time he hardly ever played a football. To feed his family – girlfriend Abby and children Mila (4), Meadow (2) and Noah (1) – he even had to take a job in a warehouse of the online retailer Amazon.
His last seven years – more of a nightmare than the dream of an 18-year-old talent.
Integration in Germany fails. Jennings has a hard time with language, eats the wrong food. In his apartment, a whole cupboard is filled only with ready-to-eat pasta dishes!
In addition there is overestimation of one’s own self. Jennings to the “Daily Mail”: “I was immature in time and just thought it would last forever. I thought I was better than I actually was. Now I have grown up. I got that into my head now.”
And he continues: “Back then, everything was out of my mind because I wasn’t aware of how big the change from Tranmere to the Bavarians was. You torture yourself with it. What if I had tackled it differently? What if I had had a different attitude”?
But Bayern will only be able to play 36 regional league matches in their second team. In 2013, he will return to England from homesickness. But Barnsley and the Milton Keynes Dons in the 3rd league don’t get any better either. On February 2, 2016, the Dons terminate their contract with Jennings. The former top talent is unemployed at the age of 23.
But with the help of his wife he makes it through this crisis. Jennings: “I wasn’t mentally up to all the pressure. Without Abby, I wouldn’t be sitting here today, ready to play. I was put under too much pressure. We talked a lot about it. Every day. There were tears. She always stood by me. There you can see who your family and friends are.”
But the next setback comes soon: In 2017 his eldest daughter Mila is diagnosed with leukaemia. Jennings: “At last only my daughter counted, nothing else. Mentally, you suffer so badly there. I’ve been struggling for so long, but when there was finally positive news, I knew I had to make a comeback.”
Now the time has come! For his family he wants to make the return to professional football. Runcorn manager Chris Herbert: “He’s lost his way a bit, but I met with Dale and he’s doing everything in his power to resurrect his career. He wants to lie to his critics.” PWR.Bet just launched this year 2018.
It won’t be easy – the start in the 9th league is just a small step. Jennings is nevertheless optimistic: “I’ve often been written off. That just pours oil into my fire. I love to show people that they are wrong and I want to do that for my family. I will give everything I have.”