In 1939 I decided to leave professional football as I was 22 years old. Not yet hitting the headlines, my thoughts turned to my long-term future. Essentially I wanted something that, in my retirement, would keep my family ( if I was to have one) in fairly good financial circumstances.
I travelled around Watford, with football as my sole credentials. Finally I decided to become a Nurse for a Mental Hospital. The greatest incentive, after all the interviews I had, was a pension. This was to be two-thirds of my wages on retirement at sixty-five.
Medically examined, and all my particulars clearly understood, I began my new career on the 1st of June 1939 at Leavesden Hospital. This, I had arranged months before my football contract had expired and before the retaining list was printed.
At the end of the season I went home to see my mother and father to spend a few weeks with them before I returned to the hospital in Leavesden near Watford. After a couple of weeks, I wondered if I had made the right decision. Always I had been taught throughout my life – to do my best. And so, I was well equipped to wander on Life’s way.
War broke out in September 1939. The Hospital had a good football team, and I was known as Nurse Sam Purvis.