I spent more than 20 years in the game - man and boy as they
say - and what a time I've had. But you may be surprised to learn
that I get as much (if not more) satisfaction from what I do now -
coaching the young ones !
That's what I came on to talk to you about. Any lad who ever kicked
a ball probably dreams of glory - lifting a trophy and hearing the
cheers of adoring fans. These are the lads I coach, and I want to
help you get closer to living out that dream for yourself. It won't
be easy mind! Every week I'll be telling you something different.
What I won't ever tell you is that it's easy. There are dozens of clichés
on the "no pain, no gain" lines and there's a great deal
of truth in many of them.
Every week I'll be telling you something
different. What I won't ever tell you is that it's easy. There are
dozens of clichés on the "no pain, no gain" lines and
there's a great deal of truth in many of them.
Take me for example. I grew up in Sunderland and
I played footie in the streets with my mates and I played at school,
in fact I played every opportunity I got. And every time I had a
ball on my foot I was playing in the World Cup final! That's what
drove me on.
I got picked for my school team and I played in
the county and as luck would have it I played a terrific game the
day the Spurs scouts turned up to watch. I was still only a nipper -
barely a teenager - and too young to go down to London and join
them. So I trained hard and looked forward to the day when I could.
I have a great deal to thank my dad for 'cos
his influence was brilliant. He wasn't pushy and he wasn't critical
- he just helped to make me the best I could be. I have two brothers
who were also pretty good but they weren't so interested - you see
you can't be forced - you either love it or you don't. He understood
that and encouraged me at all times. I didn't need a push - I was
smitten- I never ever went to Roker Park to see a match. I used to
find a field and a ball and play. The only time I took time off
playing footie was to watch the cup finals!
Then at 14, I went to Spurs training for a week at
a time until I was 16, when I moved down to join their youth squad as
an apprentice. Boy was I homesick - I ran home six times by the time
I was 18 !! Lucky the coaches were patient with me and eventually I
settled. My family was still very supportive - my dad, two brothers
and four sisters used to come and watch - used to cost me a fortune
I was in the first team at 19 - my first match
was against Everton and we won 3-0! For a debut it was a good game
and my family was there to watch it. I had some bad games mind
though! I had flair and imagination but I was erratic. Well that was
the start - 1980/81 season. I got my trophies and a whole sackful of
terrific memories and now I've moved on helping the kids, and I love
it. Playing was great but I still get the biggest buzz from seeing
my lads do the best they can.