2 May, 2024 @ 12:53
3 mins read

British coach of Malaga City football club is forced to quit over post-Brexit visa delays: Steven Caulker ‘frustrated’ after ‘getting no updates for months’

The former England international had been forced to return to the UK two months ago to wait for a visa

THE former England international and Liverpool centre-back Steven Caulker has been forced to resign from his role as player-manager at FC Malaga City after ‘running out of patience’ with a lengthy wait for an employment visa. 

Caulker, 32, joined FC Malaga City, a British-run football club on the Costa del Sol, in December in his first foray into coaching, but was forced to return to the UK just two months ago as he waited for an employment visa application to be approved.

Despite being initially informed that the process would take just 15 days, the Englishman is still waiting to return to Spain, with the Spanish consulate unable to provide an update on how long the visa application may take.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Footballer Steven Caulker speaks on addiction, regret and his new life on Spain’s Costa del Sol after becoming player-manager of FC Malaga City

Steven Caulker has been left frustrated after a succession of unexplained visa delays. Copyright: Olive Press

In a statement posted on his LinkedIn page, Caulker said: “After a frustrating two months waiting for my work visa to return to Spain, I have had to make the difficult decision to leave FC Malaga City”.

“The embassy have been unable to provide any update on how long the visa will take and we quite simply have run out of patience”.

“I would like to thank George Jermy for giving me the opportunity to make my first start in management. It’s been a great experience and one that I am very grateful for”.

“Malaga City is a great club with fantastic people behind the scenes. I look forward to seeing them grow from strength to strength”.

“As for me, I will now look for new options ahead of the new season”.

In a wide-ranging exclusive interview earlier this year, Caulker had told the Olive Press how he was ‘honestly loving’ his new life in sunny Nerja.

The London-born centre-half played for Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, QPR and Cardiff City in an impressive career that saw him score in his one and only England appearance.

Caulker is currently captain of the Sierra Leone national team, the country of his grandfather’s birth. Credit: Cordon Press

Although his tenure started with a 6-0 loss as post-Brexit visa tribulations limited his role, Caulker quickly guided the side to a succession of crucial victories, lifting them to 13th in Spain’s fifth tier.

The move to Spain also provided Caulker with a much-needed reset following a career plagued with off-field issues including alcoholism and gambling addiction. 

He told the Olive Press: “I was at rock bottom. I fell out of love with football and the game. When I fell, it was really hard to get back. You feel like you have a lot of friends and support when you’re on top, but when I fell it felt very different. It was quite a lonely place”.

“We wouldn’t normalise crack cocaine but we normalise gambling. I am very vocal about it – the relationship needs to change, but football as a whole is putting money before people at the moment. Society as a whole should be made more aware of the dangers of gambling. It’s a deep dark hole”.

He added: “I take it day-by-day, doing a lot of recovery. I live in Marbella so I drive in, I do an hour of Alcoholics or Gambling Anonymous, I make a gratitude list, I pray, I speak to people, I balance my family life. I will never be cured of depression but I can manage it better now”.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: ‘I’m a British expat and started my own football club in Spain…we’ve rocketed through the leagues and now we’re playing at a national level – this is our winning formula’

FC Malaga City was founded less than a decade ago by George Jermy, a British expat. Copyright: Olive Press

FC Malaga City, one of Spain’s newest and most exciting football clubs, have rocketed up the leagues since being founded in 2017 by George Jermy, a British expat with Spanish roots who turned to coaching after a journeyman career riddled with injury problems. 

In January, Jermy told the Olive Press: “Steven came on holiday here to Nerja and it was just one of those things where the stars align. I met him straight away and thought he was a really great character to get involved with here. It may not be a leap of faith but he has obviously never been a first-team manager before, but I am fully backing him and I hope we can help in this chapter of his development and give us a lot as a club before I’m sure he goes onto higher levels”.

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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