I'm a former Premier League star – now I drive busy trains through London… it's surreal | The Sun

FORMER Birmingham City and Coventry hard man Martin Grainger swapped football for becoming a train driver after hanging up his boots.

Grainger, 49, worked his way up from the non-league to the Premier League after starting out at Colchester United in 1989.

He helped The U's gain promotion to the Football League in the 1991-92 season.

In 1993, he joined then-League One side Brentford for £60,000 where he established himself as a first team regular.

A move to Championship Birmingham followed in 1996 where he would go on to become an inspirational figure and cult hero – known for his prowess from set pieces.

He helped the side reach the League Cup final in 2001 and gain promotion to the Premier League in 2002.


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After promotion to the Premier League however, his game time became more limited due to injury and he found himself out on loan at Midlands rivals Coventry City.

The left-back would make just seven appearances for Coventry City before returning to Birmingham.

He played four more times for the St.Andrews, scoring a goal against Manchester United in his final game in a Blues shirt.

After retiring in 2004, Grainger spent some time in charge of non-league Hertfordshire side Cheshunt.

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He also worked as a VIP chauffeur.

But since then, he has found a second calling as a train driver on the London train network.

While still in training to be a train driver, Grainger told Birmingham Live about his decision to become a driver after finding out about it through a friend on his snooker team.

He said: "At the moment I am a trainee train driver which means you are in a class room for a year and I can only describe it as an absolute nightmare.

"It is very hard! I must admit, I am not a classroom person and it is quite tough. I am enjoying it and the rewards at the end of it are really good.

"I’ve tried various different things, I’ve been a driver for example, and to work different days of the year for the pay they offer is just great. Other than football, I haven’t found anything that offers what this job offers."

The former defender worked has obviously found his calling, talking to Blues Talk Podcast in 2020 he revealed that he worked throughout the pandemic to keep the network running – describing the experience as "surreal."

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