IN the summer of 2014, Tom Broadbent served a tour of duty in the British Army in Afghanistan. On one occasion, the armoured vehicle in which he was travelling came under enemy fire. Three years on, Broadbent left the Army in September 2017 and is now a central defender with Sky Bet League One club Bristol Rovers.


In a video interview with EFL title sponsors Sky Bet, Broadbent talks about the positive effect that the Army had on him, the realisation that he was going to war, as well as the comparisons and the differences between life in the Army and that as a professional footballer.

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Broadbent said:

“The Army has sorted me out a lot really. Who knows where I could have ended up? I was going out and getting into trouble, getting into fights.

I had a sense of direction (in the Army) and felt like I was achieving something with my life. When you join the Army, you want to go on tour, get medals and things like that. Obviously, at the back of my mind, I thought: ‘Oh, God, I’m going to war technically,’ but I was happy to be going. It’s what I wanted to do.

I was in an armoured vehicle. I was safe. It wasn’t as bad as what other people have had, put it that way.

The banter in the Army is probably a bit stronger (than in football), a bit more across the line, but that’s what makes the Army the Army, isn’t it?

The transition (from the Army) has been quite easy for me. I’ve landed on my feet. At the end of the day, it’s a game of football. You’re going out there to have fun.

I don’t think you can really compare the different experiences. All I know is I’m doing what I want to do and I’m happy to be going out there and playing football.”

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