How I Got Started in Football : Part 1 – The Early Years

I thought I’d kick things off with a bit of my background, I’ve not talked about this much in the past but it might give aspiring footballers a view on how you end up getting into the professional game.

It all began for me in 1977 at Sir Harold Jackson Primary School in the Bradway area of Sheffield.

I was ten years old and captain of the school team…at centre-back! Yes that’s right, centre-back.

How I was an outfield player I can’t say – I was banned from playing out on the pitch in 5-a-sides at Swindon Town, because all I could do was kick people, there was no skill involved. It’s hard to imagine now, but yes, I was a bit of a bruiser, so maybe I could have given my old mate Shaun Taylor a run for his money– we’ll never know?!

Anyway, one day, the regular goalkeeper was ill and I offered to go in goal, as I had played a bit in that position messing about with my mates and for the “Cubs” team on a Sunday. The teacher at first opposed the idea and then relented when the other players said I was decent!

I can’t remember who the match was against, but we won, and as they say – the rest is history!!

That season I ended up having trials for Sheffield Boys at both centre-back AND goalkeeper. Our school teacher had put my name down as a centre-back, but I had changed to a ‘goalie’ well before the trials took place.  When I got to the trials, the teacher of the school I had my first game in goal against recognised me as the lad that had “single-handedly” stopped his team from scoring, and arranged for me to have a trial as a goalie as well…suffice to say though I never got in that year.

It was the following year when I went to Jordanthorpe Comprehensive (now Meadowhead) that the adventure really started!

Stay tuned for Part 2 – My Senior School Years