Football is a sport that requires many sacrifices.

From the minor one of players giving up their weekends to play, to the major sacrifices family members make by moving up and down the country, from house to house, supporting their dad or husband to enable them to progress their careers.

Dean West is a man who knows all about the contribution that is required from family members and, after racking up nearly 500 Football League appearances, the former Burnley full-back is now returning the favour to his wife Samantha, who stuck by him throughout his career.

"My wife is becoming a health visitor, which is what she has always wanted to do, and my new role is a stay-at-home dad," West said.

"She was a nurse but never got into properly and put it on hold because I had my football and we had our children to look after.

"Because of her previous experience as a nurse, she's been able to get onto a full-time year-long course at university and get into it that way."

West is enjoying his new job, looking after his three kids - 11-year-old Charlie, who plays for Lincoln City under-12s, nine-year-old Isabella and 17-month-old Macy - but this isn't his first job working with children since leaving Boston United in 2005, while they were still a Football League club.

A few months before his contract ended with the Pilgrims, West made the bold decision of venturing into business. He didn't enter into the stereotypical business avenue a footballer usually takes, though; he bought a children's nursery.

"When I moved to Boston United from Lincoln City, I was 32 and thinking my career wasn't going to take off again. It was February and my deal there ended in May, so me and my wife decided to look for a new venture.

"We needed something sustainable that was going to work. We looked at a nursing home but a nursery came up about six or seven miles from our house and it was a reasonable price. It wasn't doing too well, but we took it.

"We had never run a business before, and had never owned a nursery, but we gave it a good go and we had it for seven years - we have just sold it.

"I did the organising on the business side of things, which I had no experience in, so I learnt a lot through that. I also did the cooking for 12 months while we were setting up, before we got a chef in. I could cook anyway, but I had never cooked healthy meals for children before.

"It was certainly an experience and was a lot of hard work, but it's good to have a successful business on your CV. We didn't make a fortune but we made a living which, these days, is something a lot of people can't do."

After departing York Street, during his time running the nursery, West carved out a respectable career in non-league football, firstly with Kings Lynn then later with Corby Town.

It was a far cry from his days in The Football League, but the Wakefield-born player enjoyed it, nevertheless, and he remains in the non-league circle to this day, as a coach for Evo-Stik First Division South side Stamford AFC, which suits his new role in the household.

"Part-time football works well in my lifestyle at the minute, with the kids still young - it's just a couple of times a week and then Saturdays.

"I enjoy the non-league scene, too, working with players who have dropped down from the professional game, as well as lads who are trying to work their way up.

"There's a good mix of characters and players and it's good to stay involved in football, mixing with lads who are still hungry and want to do well, and who need my help and expertise."

And it's that help and expertise West can offer in abundance, derived from his playing days.

After starting out as a YTS at Lincoln City in 1991, he graduated to the first-team and made over 100 appearances, scoring 20 goals. He then moved on to Bury, where his career kicked on. He spent four seasons at Gigg Lane, earning two promotions, before moving with manager Stan Ternent to Burnley, where he had some memorable times.

"I had four good seasons in the second tier with Burnley and pushed for promotion. We had a couple of sixth-placed finishes, on the verge of making the Premier League, as well as a couple of FA Cup runs which included playing against Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea and Fulham.

"I didn't quite make it to the Premier League but my career was fantastic. I won a few things and got to play against some fantastic players including Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs as well as Cristiano Ronaldo.

"People always say you're a long time retired and I took that on board early on, so I just enjoyed it thoroughly.

"I don't have any regrets or wish I did anything different."

Thanks in no small part to the backing he received from his family, West was able to make a significant contribution at a number of clubs during his 20 years in the game. The 39-year-old is now looking forward to the challenge of returning the favour, and playing a pivotal role in his wife's ambitions, whilst making sure his children are ready for life's challenges.