WHO ARE YA? Mark Godfrey, The Football Pink

mark-godfrey

Mark Godfrey

Mark Godfrey, age 37

2) Who do you support?

Everton

3) What was your first game?

Everton v Southampton Feb 1980. It was an FA Cup replay and we won 1-0 in extra-time. Even though I was only 4 years old I remember the game quite well.

4) What do you do for a job?

I’m a Clinical Specialist and Product Manager for a Brazilian company that manufactures implants and other therapeutic products for people with an eye disease called Keratoconus. I’ve worked in ophthalmology for many years having worked with lasers for over a decade.

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

I had trials with Sunderland (and was at their School of Excellence) and Hearts when I was a teenager if that counts? I was lucky enough to play at a few different league grounds (Tynecastle, Roker Park, Meadow Lane)

6) How did you get into it?

I was a good player, so that’s how I got into it. I was a forward/right winger. I was lightning fast and could finish. My best season I scored 57 goals in a season. My strike partner scored 125! You wouldn’t think I was any good to look at me now!

7) What did you get out of it?

What did I get out of it? I think it improved my skills and I just loved playing football. It’s all I ever wanted to do. When I was a kid, I would leave the house after breakfast with my football and not come home until bedtime.

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

In football, I would say do as you’re told by your coaches, learn to use both feet and practice, practice, practice. In work life, don’t go to University unless you’re doing a law, medical or teaching degree. There are so many people I know whose degree has been absolutely useless to them. Controversial? (GM: Fair comment, I wish I’d partied more and studied less, for all the good it’s done me. If you make good friends at university they’ll like as not stay your friends for life. I’ve forgotten most of what I learnt).

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

I’d have made more of the talents I wasted.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

So many….when I was a kid it was probably Gary Lineker, but I have loved watching Van Basten, Platini, Zidane and Messi since then. Plus any of the Everton side of 84-85.

WHO ARE YA? Caroline Elwood-Stokes

Image

Caroline Elwood-Stokes

1) Who are ya?

Caroline Elwood-Stokes, aged 34.

I work at Sheffield & Hallamshire CFA Inclusion Advisory Group, for myself, and FAD FC (Football’s Awareness of Depression Football Community).

2) Who do you support?

I actually don’t support a club, but I do have a soft spot for Dundee.

3) What was your first game?

Back in the early 90’s, it was Sheffield Wednesday v Crystal Palace.

4) What do you do for a job?

I’m the founder of Football’s Awareness of Depression Football Community (FAD FC), I’m also an Author (I write about Football and Mental Health) and Ambassador for Sheffield & Hallamshire CFA’s Inclusion Advisory Group. I provide immense support for football players who have or are suffering with mental health issues. I also raise awareness of positive mental health through Inclusion and Equality. At the moment, I am campaigning to make Mental Health First Aid compulsory within Football.

All of the services are free, and I provide a 24-7 telephone and email service for players/coaches/refs/managers etc..

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

My playing career started with Sheffield Wednesday LFC, then Sheffield United LFC and Rotherham United LFC. I have worked with Rotherham United LFC after setting up a sports school and quickly taking on the name of the club, I became their Marketing Manager and I were writing their club biography ‘I’ll Always Be A Miller’.

6) How did you get into it?

I watched an England match in 1990 and saw Gary Lineker and the magic in his feet. I wanted to do that too.

7) What do you get out of it?

Difficult to answer really.. I lost my career at a young age 18 years ago and since then, it sent me into a massive spiral of depression so severe that I was self harming, drinking, taking overdoses etc. All I wanted to do was play Football. Now, I support Footballers [who are also] suffering.

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

Playing football – I’d encourage potential players to think long and hard about this career path. They need to understand the implications of what Football can do to mental health.

Writing Books – Just do it, I did.

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

Not lose my career and carry on playing Football.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Gary Lineker/Karen Walker

Many thanks Caroline. More power to you. Keep up the great work and all the very best.

Mental health can affect anyone at any time. Help is out there though.

NEAR POST – RIO & ROY ADDED TO GREG DYKE’S ALL-WHITE MALE FA THINK TANK

After “monkeygate” last week, Roy Hodgson finds himself in the press again after his addition to Greg Dyke’s FA Commission think tank.

The brains trust now also includes Rio Ferdinand after criticism was levelled at the FA by Heather Rabbatts, the FA’s only female board member, for the Commission consisting solely of white males.

Rabbatts had previously levelled an accusation at the FA that it was letting down black and ethnic minority people with the all-white, all-male make-up of the commission.

Following news of the new appointments, she welcomed “a degree of diversity” but said questions needed to be answered before the body could be considered “truly credible”.

Rabbatts said:

“While I can appreciate the appointment of Roy and Rio and of course welcome a degree of diversity, there are still questions which remain about the work and role of the FA commission.

“The issue of real diversity, and the insight that can bring, is still not fully resolved nor are the exact terms of reference of the commission and the continued absence of the Premier League from its membership.

“Greg Dyke was right to say that this project was the FA’s flagship for the future well-being of our national team and it is essential that it is overseen by a body that is truly credible and has the trust and confidence of the whole of football.

“This is still not the case. Today’s announcement is a start, but there is a lot more work to do.”

FA chairman Greg Dyke has stated that the inclusion of Rio Ferdinand on the Committee wasn’t an afterthought and that he was always a target for the panel.

“We have been speaking to Rio and Manchester United for some time about him joining the group, before we named the other members of the commission,” said Dyke.

“However, as he is a current Manchester United player, we needed to be sure that Rio had the necessary time to fully participate on the commission and not impact on his day job. It has been agreed he does.

“As a current player with forthright views and opinions on the game, we can look forward to Rio providing significant insight and experience.”

The current other members on the panel are:

  • FA vice-chairman Roger Burden
  • Former England manager Glenn Hoddle
  • Ex-England defender Danny Mills
  • League Managers’ Association chairman Howard Wilkinson
  • Professional Footballers’ Association chairman Ritchie Humphreys
  • Football League chairman Greg Clarke, and
  • Crewe director of football Dario Gradi

José Mourinho has also offered his assistance to the Commission in whatever capacity they desire, stating:

“If they want to speak with me, I will be open.

“I will give them my opinion. But if you concentrate on just the here and now – not on the future, in three or four years’ time, but on the group of players at Roy Hodgson’s disposal to play the World Cup – then England have players more than good enough to make a good national side.

“In the end, they deserved [to qualify]. It was a group without a big national team [as a rival], but it was a group with balance, with three or four teams who could take points off you. So it was a difficult group, and I think with the pressure of these last two matches – OK, they were at Wembley, in London, they had to win, and they did it – they coped well. They showed with the group of players they have that it’s not the drama that some people want to make us believe it is. You see the players, and the players on the bench on Tuesday night: look at which clubs they play for, which competitions they play in … You are speaking about some of the best players in the world.”

Ian Wright also put himself forward during a discussion about the FA Committee on his BBC 5Live radio programme with Kelly Cates on Sunday evening. Callers to the show also called for some sort of fan representation on the Committee.

It’s a widely held belief that Dyke’s current think tank is made up of men who are too old, too out-of-touch with the game today and neither representative of the make-up of the playing contingent in this country nor the fans that watch matches.

Although both male and white, Gary Lineker has been mooted as a valuable potential addition to the Committee. However, he made his views on it known early on and attacked the make-up of it, claiming that the majority of Dyke’s appointments were “utterly pointless”.

Committee member Danny Mills hit back at Lineker, saying:

“Rather than [hiding in] the sanctuary of the Match of the Day studio, come and put your ideas on the line,” Mills stated.

“Gary’s quite welcome to his own opinion of course, but I think when you get that situation – has he volunteered himself? Has he come down to the FA? Has he phoned up Greg Dyke and said: ‘Look, you know I am one of the greatest England players that ever played, I have some ideas’?

“This is voluntary don’t forget. This is because I care about football, I care about the future of football. I care about the way my kids play football and of course I care about the England team.”

Lineker was asked on Twitter whether he was “jealous” at not being involved himself. He wrote: “No, It’s not for me, but Waddle, Hall, Barnes, Neville etc? I could name 50 more apt.”

The Daily Telegraph’s chief sports writer, Paul Hayward, tweeted that he “Hoped it was going to be a national football study, not bureaucrats reviewing the bureaucracy.” Lineker replied with a short and to-the-point: “Exactly!”

Former England defender Sol Campbell has also questioned the FA commission’s membership:

“I wouldn’t mind if they had some black players in there, black players who have actually done something for club and country,” Campbell said, prior to Rio Ferdinand’s inclusion.

At the moment, the membership of the think tank seems to be pleasing few people beyond the FA’s inner circle, and its efficacy is already being questioned. Whether or not the core membership expands to include women, representatives from other ethnicities, and Generations X and Y remains to be seen; as does the radicalism of its recommendations for developing grassroots talent and improving England’s chances of winning a major tournament.