1) Who are ya?
Simon Lansley, 41.
2) Who do you support?
Wolverhampton Wanderers, without question the world’s greatest football club!
3) What was your first game?
Derek Dougan’s testimonial, about 1977 I think. In the old Waterloo Road Stand.
4) What do you do for a job?
Head of Marketing & Communications for the brilliant national charity @Street_League, which uses football to tackle youth unemployment. I’m also founder of @ConnectSport, which seeks to raise awareness of projects which use sport for social development. I previously worked in journalism for 15 years, including as Sports Editor / Editorial Director at The Press Association.
5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
Yes. Manager for Hamilton Panthers Under-6s!!
6) How did you get into it?
Coached my lad’s team for five years.
7) What do you get out of it?
Perspective. Before a certain age, kids are quite happy to just have fun and try to win a match; it’s adults who are obsessed by league tables. Saw too many dads reliving their football careers through their kids, desperate to win the league whatever the cost. I like winning matches more than most – but not at the cost of kids developing and learning not to panic on the ball.
8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
Put the kids first. Make sure they’re always having fun, they’re much more likely to want to learn. I took a lot of pleasure from watching a supposedly ‘weaker’ player grow in confidence through encouragement and guaranteed gametime to become top scorer. Just seeing him and his dad’s pride when he scored was worth all the effort.
9) If you could do it all again what would you change?
Better facilities, better English weather, more support for the embattled club stalwarts, but most of all more patience and positivity from the vocal minority on the sidelines.
10) Who’s your footballing hero?
Stephen George Bull MBE.
Many thanks, Simon.
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