These grainy images reveal the amazing descent of former Premier League star Kevin Kyle from international football ace to ship’s cleaner.
Reformed gambler Kyle has traded a lavish £10,000-a-week career with Sunderland and Rangers for stacking boxes and cleaning toilets.
The 33-year-old now earns just £800-a-fortnight – a fraction of his former paypacket – working on board a fleet of ships in the Shetland Islands designed to cater for offshore workers
And sources claim managers on board the 300-capacity ship have warned his new workmates not to discuss the goalscorer’s former life as a footballer.
When the Daily Record contacted Kyle, who once admitted blowing £7000 a week on a gambling addiction, he blasted: “I’m trying to provide for my family.”
Stranraer-born Kyle works on the Regina Baltic ship in Lerwick’s remote Mairs Quay – a 16-hour, 400-mile trip from his former home at Ibrox.
Our amazing images show Kyle working a 12-hour shift for employers Sodexo, stacking boxes and chatting with friends over a tea-break in the communal room.
A source said: “Kevin started work on the ship earlier this month. It’s sad really to see someone who was obviously well-loved by the fans seemingly ending his career relatively early.
“He’s a good lad and everyone gets on with him but he now has to work gruelling shifts and cater for other people – it must be quite a turnaround from his previous life.
“He doesn’t want to talk about his career as a footballer. His managers told people not to mention it.”
Kyle – whose contract with League One minnows Ayr United is thought to have been scrapped earlier this year – began working on the ship on July 8.
The former goalscorer’s duties include cleaning floors, making beds and stocking up supplies on the ship. Kyle said: “I’m trying to provide for my family. Many footballers pick up jobs after football but I don’t see stories about them in the newspapers.
“I don’t really want to publicise my lifestyle in the newspapers about whether I have a job or don’t have a job. I have to work at some point to put food on the table and to provide for my family.”
Dad-of-three Kyle began his career as a youth at Ayr United before joining Sunderland in 1998, but he was initially unable to force his way into the first team.
In 2006 he made a £600,000 transfer to Coventry and went on to play for Kilmarnock, Hearts, Rangers and Ayr United. Over an eight-year period, he made 10 appearances for Scotland, scoring once.
But last night a source at his new place of employment said: “He’s just like any of the other member of staff. He works hard and he doesn’t speak about his previous life as a footballer. He just gets on with it.”
Earlier this yeah Kyle revealed his former team-mates at Rangers couldn’t believe how much they earn, claiming the club was paying players far more than most of them could ever hope to make elsewhere.
Kyle, who signed for the Ibrox team in August 2012, said: “There are guys at Rangers who can’t believe their luck at what they earn.
“I remember a fellow pro phoning me in the summer and, because I had read about it in a paper, I asked him: ‘Did Rangers really offer you that amount?’
“And he said to me: ‘You know what? I think I could actually get even more off them.’
“You are thinking to yourself: ‘Third division football and they are going to be earning £350,000 or £400,000 a year? And they would go higher still?’”
In an injury-ravaged season with Rangers, Kyle made eight appearances and scored three goals.
He previously revealed how he “p***ed his wages up the wall gambling” during a spell at Coventry City.
In a 2010 newspaper interview he said: “Sometimes in life money is not everything. I know a lot of people disagree with that but I had all the money years ago when I played with Sunderland and Coventry and I p***** it up a wall gambling.
“So money doesn’t always make you happy. The happiest I have been was the first year at Kilmarnock, playing football and knowing what my wage was.”