WHO ARE YA? Darren Wiltshire

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Darren Wiltshire

1) Who are ya?

Darren Wiltshire, 30 years old, English but working in Munich, Germany.

2) Who do you support?

Tottenham

3) What was your first game?

I don’t know my first game unfortunately, probably Spurs v a mid-table team at White Hart Lane…. My greatest game was seeing Santos beat Corinthians, a Robinho masterclass!

4) What do you do for a job?

I work as a Senior football analyst for Opta in Munich….. I have just got back from a couple of years of coaching in Morocco and India.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I worked as a youth coach for Barcelona setting up their academy and at their camps in India. Also worked for Arsenal Soccer Schools but as a Tottenham fan that is nothing to boast about.

6) How did you get into it?

The analysis – I stumbled into it after completing my a levels.

The coaching – I spent time working with street children in Peru, and realised it was better for them to play football than sniff glue, so I decided to coach them how to play football every day.

7) What do you get out of it?

From the analysis, I get to analyse football for a great company in Opta and a salary!

From the coaching, I get a soul, enjoyment, and the opportunity to inspire kids to be fit and healthy and enjoy playing the game.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

To get into football coaching, take your badges, it is surprising how far a little FA stamp can get if you are prepared to travel abroad.. If you have ambitions to coach in the UK, do not bother coaching abroad because it seems to count for nothing..

To get into analysis, watch as much football as you can at all levels.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Bloody hell, what a question! (GM – sorry, but stand leading question for all interviewees)

  1. I would have signed for a semi pro club called Estudiantil, when I lived in Uruguay.
  2. I wouldn’t have left the job with Barcelona in India

I was living a dream learning from a top coach and man called Jordi Arasa. Sadly my stomach gave up on me!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I feel I need to mention a few! My Dad, Ginola, Hoddle and Maradona

Many thanks Darren. ¡Viva la Revolución!

WHO ARE YA? Baljit Rihal

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1) Who are ya?

Baljit Rihal. Proud British Sikh – London born and bred.

2) Who do you support?

Chelsea FC & England.

3) What was your first game?

On a school trip our Sports teacher took us to England v Brazil (1-1 draw) in 1987 at The Old Wembley Stadium – when Brazilian Mirandinha scored his only international goal – then signed for Newcastle.

4) What do you do for a job?

  • Founder Asian Football Awards (www.asianfootballawards.co.uk)
  • Director Inventive Sports (Sports Consultancy)
  • FA Licensed Players Agent
  • FIFA & UEFA Licensed Match Agent
  • Magistrate
  • Founder British Asian Football Association

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

  • Played for and captained my school teams up to high school level.
  • Had trials for Middlesex County (didn’t get selected though)..
  • Have done consultancy for football clubs – Premiership, Football League, La Liga & Indian iLeague.

Currently working with Premiership clubs to establish setups in India.

6) How did you get into it?

Attended the Chelsea Asian Star event in its first year and was interviewed by the media as to why Asians were not playing top level football.

I was invited to attend forums by The FA – my interest developed from there.

I also became an advocate for Asians in Football, took my FA agents exams – studied hard for it and passed – then founded the Asian Football Awards. Things have spiralled from the first awards in 2012. Held our 2nd awards in October 2013.

It got great media exposure and helped to increase awareness of Asians in Football.

7) What do you get out of it?

My aim is to help improve the representation of British Asians in football. Maybe it is my calling in Life.

Football is a game I have always loved and to be part of the industry is satisfaction in itself.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Believe in yourself and your dreams. Do not give up

Network ! Network ! Network !

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Maybe getting into the business of football a lot earlier than I did. In hindsight, I should have taken the FIFA Masters degree when it was introduced.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Simply put – Pele.

Many thanks, Baljit.

Follow Baljit on Twitter – @BaljitRihal

WHO ARE YA? Joanna Fisher, Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence

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Joanna Fisher, Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence

1) Who are ya?

I am Joanna Fisher, I have lived in London all my life and know it like the back of my hand. I love the versatility and diversity of the Capital. I love the banter and the people who come from all walks of life and enjoy life! I love communicating whether talking or writing. I also spend a lot of time with family in Italy on the coast. I absolutely love it there.

2) Who do you support?

I am a third generation Arsenal supporter, my late grandfather who was from near Camden and my father who was Sports Editor of the Daily Mirror for many years left me with no choice but to support the Gunners. For a short while my father lived in the same road as Highbury and I grew up fully in the world of football.

3) What was your first game?

I was first taken to Highbury when I was four years old! Rather shamefully I have never been to the Emirates as I am always too busy, although one of the greatest Arsenal players who I know did invite me recently.

4) What do you do for a job?

I am Head of Operations at Bollo Football School of Excellence. It has been running as a successful community football club in West London for over 13 years with the aim of getting less privileged kids off the streets, coached and playing in leagues. They get some help from charities including Help a London Child. They have mentors and in the whole time it has been running only 3 have got into crime which is amazing. Some of the kids have gone on to play semi pro and pro also. It is always a huge bonus to discover talent which I enjoy doing a bit of scouting.

I was headhunted in the summer this year to take things to another level with the introduction of more structured coaching, fixtures at semi pro and pro academies, we recently played against Reading FC Academy our U12 who were buzzing at the experience and how well they were welcomed. I am also helping to set up Post 16 courses so the kids are given a good start in life with education like BTEC and NVQ whereas they may not be doing so well in school or supported at home.

We have been talking to teams and clubs abroad also to create tournaments and exchanges which is such an exciting opportunity. The job keeps me so busy but I absolutely love the fact we are working hard to support those less well off in the community.

The man who set up Bollo, Huey Reid is amazing. He has devoted 13 years to helping the kids in West London and they and I all respect him enormously in the community. He has put his heart and soul into community football and I respect him enormously.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I have never worked for any clubs but most days I am communicating with contacts at various clubs and spreading the word about Bollo or dashing about to meetings.

6) How did you get into it?

I was working at another football academy which I helped to set up and scout kids from London into professional coaching and fixtures including Charlton, Reading, Sunderland and Manchester City. I enjoyed getting to know all the kids and families and watch them live the dream. Everyone wants to be a footballer. It is their passion. But it goes without saying that it is so important to keep the kids realism in touch and support their education and career as so few actually make it. I spend hours with the families supporting them.

7) What do you get out of it?

I love working in football. Seeing the kids turn up and forget their problems while they live out their passion. Football is a real leveller in society. I have met so many amazing people who are passionate about youth development and its importance in the game. How it needs to be updated in the UK and more investment made into our home-grown players of the future. The talent is out there in this country. It just needs to be found early enough and structured coaching given and experience playing regular games through the teens so our players can rival European and other foreign young players that get snapped up by the big clubs.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

I would always advise people to think long and hard about what job they really feel passionate about so that it never feels like hard work! Hard work and thinking outside the box, putting in the extra effort and enjoying it is so important.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

If I could do it all again I would possibly have got more qualifications! But my love of communication seems to have helped me along the way.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Pele. Simply a fantastic player but also a great humanitarian.

WHO ARE YA? Pete Stajic, FC Halifax Town

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Pete Stajic

1) Who are ya?

Pete Stajic

2) Who do you support?

FC Halifax Town

3) What was your first game?

Can’t remember to be honest…

4) What do you do for a job?

Area Manager for H.B.Clark Brewery

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Yes, three years worked at Halifax and now working part time for no pay

6) How did you get into it?

Always been doing things around the club but applied for the job

7) What do you get out of it?

Tremendous satisfaction from having built sponsorship up from nothing, as no one had done anything in 30 years at the club, plus the buzz it gives me.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Make 100% sure you are going to work for the right people. There are a lot of dodgy people in football (GM – very true).

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

Nothing

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I have a few but Zola always stood out to me.

Many thanks, Pete.

WHO ARE YA? Craig M, Beyond the Last Man

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BTLM

1) Who are ya?

Craig, early 40s

2) Who do you support?

Grew up a Rangers supporter but moved away from Scotland a couple of decades ago so follow them fairly remotely from afar – in recent seasons with the sort of expression a pathologist might adopt with a particularly messy corpse.

3) What was your first game?

I faintly remember being taken to Hampden for the 1976 Scottish Cup Final and everyone celebrating almost as soon as we found our seats. Rangers scored in the opening minute and went on to beat Hearts 3-1 that day.

4) How did you get into it?

A couple of decades ago, I did a lot of freelance writing for football magazines before drifting out of it. Wanting to get a book project off the ground, I thought that blogging would be a good way to get the necessary practice and discipline such a project demands. That and a frustration about how Premier League and Champions League-centric modern football is: there are so many great stories to be told from before the 1990s that I thought it was worth sharing and hoping people might find interesting.

5) What do you get out of it?

It’s a mixed bag really. I try and mix things up with lengthy historical articles alternating with retro images and nostalgia related items and I suppose it can be frustrating when you get more reaction to easily assembled picture posts than articles that take weeks to research and write (GM – Tell me about it!).

But you do drift into contact with other knowledgeable and talented football-minded people, especially artists, that it’s a pleasure to interact with.

6) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Two things really. Create something that genuinely interests you and that you really believe in rather than something you think might be popular. You’ll need that enthusiasm for your subject when you have those regular periods of doubt about keeping it going it – and you will.

Secondly; try and find a niche that not too many others seem to be doing. If you want to start a blog dedicated to Premier League transfer gossip, just ask yourself if you have anything new or different to say from the dozens of people out there already doing something similar. Try to be the quirky independent shop on the High street and not the homogenised chain store.

7) Who’s your footballing hero?

Javier Zanetti represents the best of all footballing and human values and the game will be a much poorer place when – or if – he ever decides to retire.

Some questions omitted as not applicable.

You can read Craig’s blog, Beyond the Last Man, here – beyondthelastman.com – or follow him on Twitter – @BeyondTLM.

NEAR POST – Antonín Panenka & the Panenka Penalty

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Antonin Panenka

Antonín Panenka (born on the 2nd of December, 1948, in Prague) is a former Czech International footballer, who played most of his league football for Bohemians Prague.

Panenka won the 1976 European Championship with Czechoslovakia, scoring the winning penalty in the final against West Germany.

Using the technique that now bears his name, otherwise known as the ‘falling leaf”, Panenka dinked a softly chipped ball down the middle of the goal as the goalie dived away from it. No one had ever done this before, at least not in a televised game or where it had been reported.

After the match had ended in a 2-2 draw, Panenka stepped up in the resulting penalty shoot-out with the chance to secure Czechoslovakia’s first ever major international football title.

Facing Sepp Maier in goal, Panenka strolled up to the ball and put it straight down the middle, with the German ‘keeper diving away to his left.

“I suspect that he [Maier] doesn’t like the sound of my name too much. I never wished to make him look ridiculous,” Panenka told UEFA.com.

“On the contrary, I chose the penalty because I saw and realised it was the easiest and simplest recipe for scoring a goal. It is a simple recipe.”

Pele said that it was the work of “either a genius or a madman”, and Panenka’s innovation has earned him a place in footballing lore. Henceforth known as the “Panenka Penalty”, they are great when they come off, but massively embarrassing for the penalty taker when they don’t. Here are some of the best, and worst, examples.

Zinedine Zidane, in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ Final

The irrepressible Zinedine Zidane took the perfect Panenka in the final between France and Italy. The match was just six minutes in when the Real Madrid galactico had the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot. Zizou stepped up and lofted the ball over Gianluigi Buffon, clipping the underside of the crossbar and bouncing over the line.

The El Loco Panenka

El Loco, Uruguayan forward Sebastian Abreu, produced a Panenka of his own four years later in The World Cup in South Africa.

After a 1-1 draw with Ghana, Uruguay were just one spot-kick away from their first semi-final in 40 years. The Panenka technique is built on the assumption that, more often than not, the goalkeeper will dive out of the way and, luckily for Abreu, Richard Kingson did just that.

Abreu feels that he deserves the same recognition as Zidane received for his Panenka:

“What word did you use to describe Zidane’s penalty?” asked the veteran striker.

“Crazy? No, magical. So why not Abreu? Those are the decisions you have to take. And at the same time you have to try your best and make sure the ball goes in.”

Totti and EURO 2000

Francesco Totti displayed his trademark self-confidence by scoring with a variation on the standard Panenka in emphatic style against the Netherlands in the semi-final of EURO 2000. Totti put Gli Azzurri 3-0 up on penalties by sending Edwin van der Sar the wrong way, chipping the ball into the right-hand corner of the net. England’s years of hurt Both Helder Postiga and Andrea Pirlo have inflicted Panenka penalty misery on England at tournaments. Postiga scored past David James in EURO 2004, and Pirlo left Joe Hart on his arse in the quarter final of EURO 2012. Pirlo said:

“I saw the goalkeeper making strange movements, so I waited for him to move and hit it like that. “It was easier for me to chip it at that stage. Maybe my effort put some pressure on England and Ashley Young missed the next one after me.”

When the ‘falling leaf” leaves you with egg on your face

All Nantes captain and goalie Mikel Landreau had to do was score in the penalty shootout to take the 2004 Coupe de la Ligue title, but his lofted effort was caught easily by opposite number Teddy Richert, who saved again moments later to give Sochaux the title that year.

Brazilian superstar Neymar has had his fair share of problems with the Panenka. He missed one in a 2010 pre-season friendly for Santos, and again in the Copa do Brasil final, where he lofted the ball tamely into the grateful Vitoria goalkeeper’s hands.

Prestigious and prodigious Brazilian penalty-taker and goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni chose to dink his Penenka straight down the middle, only for Tiago Cardoso to acrobatically deny the Brazilian international. Was it a bad execution of the Penenka, or a great save? You decide.

Marko Devic tried one in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League. With 15 minutes remaining, and trailing 2-0 on aggregate to Olympiacos, his deft effort from 12 yards didn’t fool Balazs Megyeri, who made an easy save.

Bosnia-born Croatia striker Branimir Hrgota opened his Borussia Monchengladbach account with an incredibly cheeky Panenka penalty last season. But the youngster was left red faced after attempting the same trick and failing in his side’s penalty shootout defeat by Darmstadt in the DFP Cup. Hrgota missed the decisive kick after his effort came off the crossbar and bounced out, sending the Bundesliga side crashing out of the first round.

The giraffe-like Peter Crouch was on his way to a maiden England hat-trick in their warm-up game for Germany 2006 against the reggae boys of Jamaica when he thought he’d try one. The score was 5-0 to England when he stepped up for his penalty, only to put too much power into his chip, sending it sailing over the bar. While the should’ve-been-a-basketball-player striker completed his hattrick later and walked away with the match ball, his failed Penenka did serve as a warning to others: caution – it’s not as easy as Panenka made it look.

Other cheeky penalties

Other cheeky penalties, besides Panenkas, include Theyab Awana’s cheeky backheeled penalty for UAE against Lebanon, Joonas Jokinen of Swiss side FC Baar converted a penalty whilst executing a spectacular somersault at the same time, and Ezequiel Calvente took his run-up and positioned himself to hit the spot kick with his right foot but surprised everyone by hitting with his left instead. Not dissimilar to Calvente’s goal, Grindavik defender Alexander Magnusson scored with his leading leg whilst putting in a great fake right-foot shot; and, last but not least, the legendary Johann Cryuff had people consulting the rule book when, instead of shooting directly at goal, the Dutch master passed the ball to teammate Jesper Olsen who then drew the keeper out before sliding the ball back to Cruyff for a famous goal that was, in fact, perfectly legal. Arsenal’s Robert Pires and Thierry Henry tried to do the same thing in 2005, but botched it in hilarious fashion.

WHO ARE YA? Craig Armstrong

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Craig Armstrong

1) Who are ya?

My Name is Craig Armstrong. I currently work for Nottingham Forest FC in their academy coaching U15/16s. I’m 38 years old.

2) Who do you support?

I support Sunderland but I’ve lived in Nottingham since I was 16 so I follow Forest also.

3) What was your first game?

My first game was actually Huddersfield v Darlington I think, when I was maybe 7 or 8.

4) What do you do for a job?

I currently coach in the academy at Nottingham Forest and also run an educational football-based programme at a local football club (Basford United FC). I teach. BTEC level 2/3 in Sport and coach the teams who compete in a college and youth alliance leagues.

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

Other than working at Forest, I also played for them from the age of 12 till I was nearly 24. I’ve played for Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday, Grimsby, Watford, Gillingham, Bradford, Bristol Rovers and many more.

6) How did you get into it?

I started playing in my school team at the age of 11 and got asked to play for my district where I was then scouted and asked to go on trial at a few clubs. Escalated from then on.

7) What do you get out of it?

I got the opportunity to play in front of big crowds at the best stadiums in the country and now I’m coaching at the club where I began my career and giving something back – my experiences, and my knowledge.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

My advice is that if you’re good enough the money will come to you and when you play football, don’t leave anything on the football pitch. You can only take care of yourself, so, when you come back into the dressing room, if you can look in the mirror and know you’ve done all you can, good or bad game then that’s good.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?

I wouldn’t change anything in my own life, as things happen for a reason but I wish I’d had the amount of coaching, advice and help that young kids get now. If I had got that at their age I know I would have been a far better player.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

My footballing hero? That’s a tough one. I remember always watching my dad. He never turned pro but I used to go with him every weekend and watch games.

Many thanks, Craig.