It’s highly unlikely that Frank Lampard or Yaya Toure will trade in their careers in football for a spell under a different kind of spotlight, once they finally decide to hang up their boots, but for another former Manchester City man, it had become a way to pay the bills.
A midfielder by trade, the Zambia-born player’s breakthrough came in January 1998 when the then-22-year-old made his first team debut in a 2-0 win over Bradford City in the FA Cup.
He soon became a regular for the Sky Blues and was voted the club’s young player of the year come the end of the campaign, before a dip in form and injury problems saw him play just once over the last four months of the 1998/99 season.
Loan spells at Blackpool, Norwich City, Swindon and Northampton followed but the injury issues continued with Whitley finally ending his 21-year association with Manchester City in 2001 by moving to Wrexham on a permanent basis.
But Whitley wasn’t about to give up the limelight just yet and discovered a brand new career on the stage, having previously excelled as a choirboy and flutist at school.
It started with a role at Nat King Cole in a touring production but has now evolved with the 39-year-old now taking on the role of Sammy Davis Jr in the Rat Pack Live, according to the Lincolnshire Echo.
Starring alongside former Emmerdale favourite Richard Shelton among others, Whitley’s story is an example to others in the game – though don’t expect to see Edin Dzeko strutting his stuff on the West End any time soon.