Former Sunderland defender Joel Lynch has spoken out about his struggles since becoming a free agent last year, during an exclusive interview with Football League World.
The 33-year-old has been searching for a new club since his release by the Black Cats in July last year and has most recently spent time on trial with the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Southend United in League Two.
Once on the books of Brighton and Hove Albion as an up and coming youngster, Lynch has played over 300 games at Football League level and is currently awaiting an answer from the Trotters over whether he has done enough to earn a contract or not.
FLW journalist Chris Thorpe spoke to Lynch last week, with the experienced centre back discussing what life as a free agent has been like, whilst also touching on his time with both Bolton and Southend in the past year.
“I was at Southend for quite a while training but to be completely honest with you, this whole experience of being a free agent has been absolutely horrendous.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it, you know I’ve been in clubs since I had my scholarship at the age of 16.
“But this side takes you into conversations with agents and managers who tell you this and tell you that and quite often it turns out to be lies.
“It’s been so hard. And no disrespect to Southend at all, but to go from playing in the Championship and turning out for Sunderland and thinking that I still have a few years left to prove my point to going on to slog it out at Southend, it’s just been so hard to accept.
“It’s getting these opportunities in the first place that is so hard. Like as a 33-year-old I still feel like I could do a job, I’m at home training and keeping myself fit, it’s just so hard to keep going when everything around you has stopped.
“There’s been so many broken promises, I could write a book about how many offers I’ve had from abroad from agents and clubs and then you get your hopes up so much.
“And then you start planning with your missus about where you’re going to live, you know I could’ve gone to places like Turkey and Saudi Arabia for good money that would’ve set us up for life.
“Your hopes get up and then all of a sudden it’s gone. I’ve probably had an offer from a team every week since August on average, but for one reason or another it just doesn’t happen.
“The situation changes a lot, you know at one point in the summer I was with Charlton but that didn’t happen as they had an embargo at the time, things just get in the way.
“It’s the same thing with Bolton, they came and approached me as soon as I got released by Sunderland, but we couldn’t get it done because of the wage cap at that time.
“I left Southend thinking I was going to sign for Bolton as I felt that I wouldn’t have to do much training to prove myself but since then they’ve sent me home and told me that they’ll get back to me.
“I’m now just training back and home and waiting on it. There’s nothing straight forward. I thought I was going to go straight up there, train and then sign but that’s not what happened.
“I’d played against Ian Evatt back in the day and stuff and obviously had a few conversations with him over the past few months as that interest has always been there.
“I trained and I thought I did well but it’s just the situation that Bolton find themselves in that doesn’t help as they’re sort of rebuilding and they’ve had a lot of ins and outs, so at the end of the day it’s down to them, it’s their decision, I’m just waiting for a yes or no.”