Sheffield Wednesday v Wycombe Wanderers: David Stockdale planning ahead but only once Owls are back where they belong

ON the pitch at least, Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper David Stockdale has not had that much to do so far this season - and he is happy enough about that.

Off it, the Yorkshireman barely gets a minute to himself. That suits him every bit as much.

A cursory glance at his personal website conveys his range of interests. Work does not stop as you leave the pitch is one of the straplines.

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They include vintage cars and angling. He has a property portfolio and has helped various charitable causes and community projects.

PLANNING AHEAD: Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper David Stockdale (left) and defender Michael Ihiekwe, pictured following the game against Portsmouth. Picture: Steve EllisPLANNING AHEAD: Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper David Stockdale (left) and defender Michael Ihiekwe, pictured following the game against Portsmouth. Picture: Steve Ellis
PLANNING AHEAD: Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper David Stockdale (left) and defender Michael Ihiekwe, pictured following the game against Portsmouth. Picture: Steve Ellis

In his time at Brighton, he received a PFA Community Champion Award for his work with the families affected by the Shoreham Airshow tragedy, which claimed the lives of 11 people in 2015.

Football is the day job and his chief focus is doing his bit to help Wednesday secure their craved-for return to the Championship this season. They face one of his old clubs on Saturday afternoon.

After the final whistle, expect him to quickly find out how his other team have done. Stockdale is a board member of Midlands Football League Division One side Droitwich Spa.

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Stockdale told The Yorkshire Post: "After football, I will be doing something and working. I got brought up with the view if you have not got a job, you better have a lot of money to let yourself sit on your butt.

Owls keeper David Stockdale (Picture: Steve Ellis)Owls keeper David Stockdale (Picture: Steve Ellis)
Owls keeper David Stockdale (Picture: Steve Ellis)

"The football club is a big interest of mine in Droitwich. We have managed to put a big community facility together and it's taken us nearly three years. That was a big thing for me.

"At Birmingham, I was having a tough time and getting involved with Droitwich was something what I needed. It gave me a slice of football enjoyment that I was not getting at the time. It kept me sane as I was always open in saying that it was a tough time for me (at Birmingham).

"Going to watch them coming in from work and going out to enjoy playing football after the time I had - and the blood, sweat and tears - made me realise I am in a small percentage getting paid for it and they are going out playing for a non-league club after work.

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"We got promoted last season and are now in step six of non-league and in the play-off area. We have been getting average crowds of 400-500, which is really good for step six.”

Stockdale turned 37 this week. He has no intention to hang up his gloves, but has plans for the future.

He set up MDB13 Properties Ltd in 2017 and runs it with wife Katie. The company has a portfolio of 30-40 properties/units with a value of between £4-5million, according to his website.

While his plans after football are well set, many footballers don't make provisions. The shrewder ones are starting to ask for advice.

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He continued: "I have had a plan for a number of years now. I spoke to a lot of the younger lads at Wycombe who are getting more into different businesses for when they have finished.

"I am always open to speak to players. I am not going to say 'you need to do this, this and this' but to give options. Until I got to Fulham (in 2008), no-one openly said: 'Have you thought about this or that.' Having options, at least they have something to talk about and there's a few players who I talk to who ring for advice, which I really enjoy as they trust me enough. A few lads here are doing the same."

Wednesday are the 18th club of Stockdale's career, including non-league teams. His time at Wycombe is one that he will always cherish after a tough time at St Andrew’s.

The Chairboys’ hugely popular and successful manager Gareth Ainsworth celebrates his tenth anniversary in charge today.

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During his time there, they have punched above their weight in the Championship and provided a sanctuary to many players who have been struggling at previous clubs, including Stockdale.

Wycombe is a happy club. There are a few wild and wacky characters - Ainsworth himself is in a rock band called The Cold Blooded Hearts - but it plainly works. Individuals can breathe and flourish.

Stockdale said: "They are a club who take chances on people who are maybe not having the best time. It’s like giving you a hug.

"They look after you. You come in, be yourself and be anyone in that changing room. If you buy into it, you can do what you like (outside).

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"You could collect stamps. It's that type of dressing room where we'd have a bit of fun, but if you went on holiday and saw a stamp that they might like, you'd buy it for them. It was that type of team spirit.

"Let everyone be themselves, no matter how wacky or wild. Testament to that is that the gaffer does the same.”