WHO ARE YA? Andrew Palmer, Football Consultant, mentor and coach

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1) Who are ya?

Andrew Palmer, 42 years old.

2) Who do you support?

I support Liverpool and have done since I was a child, my favourite colour being red, even though I liked Liverpool when we had a black and white TV! My dad told me stories about visiting there when he came from Jamaica. The national team I support is Jamaica as this is where my mum was born and I feel a great affiliation with the country. One day i would like to work for the federation and help create talented players and a great team from there.

3) What was your first game?

My first game playing football was for a schools football team, and we won 4-2.

I’ve also played for Nottinghamshire FA Youth U19s and also semi pro at Eastwood town. and also with Notts County YTS youth team.

4) What do you do for a job?

I’m currently running my own business as a Football Consultant where i help young players find clubs semi pro, pro, or college soccer in America. I also help with self development side of things i.e. dealing with the mental and emotional side of things such as confidence building writing CVs and mentoring. I feel that this is important as the pressures of dealing with playing etc. are so intense that problems arise both physically and mentally.

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

I’ve worked for Nottingham Schools FA as a coach and a committee member, working with the U11s up to the U15s for Nottingham’s representative sides. I was also the Nottinghamshire FA Youth U19s manager for 8 years, playing in the Midlands County Youth League and also the FA County Youth Cup.

I’ve been a scout for Leicester City for 10 years, and for 3 years set up and ran their first development centre in Nottingham for 8 – 12 year olds.

6) How did you get into it?

I got into coaching etc. when I started doing a FA Coaching badge as I wasn’t sure what to do at the time. I’ve got a degree in design (business) management and was unemployed for 2 years after leaving university at 27. So confidence was low… I had started a design business afterwards to get me out of unemployment but then the coaching came along and things took off from there.

7) What do you get out of it?

I’ve coached children from 5 upwards and I’ve coached young adults and adults too. I’ve coached girls and boys. I’ve worked as a tutor with hard to reach kids. I helped develop and set up Nottingham’s first Futsal team (this was a number of years before what we see now in Futsal in the UK).

I’ve worked with mentoring groups… I’ve coached dads and lads groups… I’ve coached and worked with young adults on my own knife and gun crime project [Nottingham had a bad reputation for knife and gun crime in the 90s and early 2000s – GM], so you can say that I got and continue to get a lot out of it!

I love working with and inspiring people, particularly young people. and also seeing a child go from not being able to turn their foot correctly to pass with their instep to doing it correctly.

Not only that but to teach them life experience whilst coaching too.

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

I would say follow your dreams get out their try try and try again and you never know what is around the corner. It led me to being chosen to carry the Olympic torch, and someone wanted to nominate me for an MBE, which I laughed at! “Believe and you will Achieve”.

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

I wish I was more positive after the set back of unemployment and being down it took me a while to recover. I wasn’t 100% positive – that only came much later.

For me though, I suppose, if I hadn’t gone through depression I wouldn’t have achieved so many things.

I’ve now got a 3 year old son who is reaping the benefits of my tuition and he is already doing step overs, drag backs, dribbling, shooting and passing – crazyyyyy!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I’m not sure i would call footballers “heroes” per se but I’ve got a few footballers that I thought were great (a term used too loosely in the modern game) – Pele Maradona, Van Basten, Ruud Gullit, Zidane, Kenny Dalglish, Messi, Franco Baresi, Gerd Muller and Franz Beckenbauer.

Cheers, Andrew. More power to you.

See also thinkfootball.co.uk/archives/938

WHO ARE YA? Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor

1) Who are ya?

Bill Eaton, LFA referee, tutor, mentor and assessor. Referee development office for the Bolton, Bury and District Football League. UAFA C Coach, Born and bred in Bolton.

2) Who do you support?

Support my local team of course, BWFC (GM – good lad)

3) What was your first game?

As a referee I turned up to do a game at a venue where there was ten games, referees where allocated to each game. Some kind referee swapped games. I was stuck with the Grantham Arms v Chamberlain Arms, two local pub teams who made my life hell for 90 minutes. Sent half a dozen of them to their local FA.

As a coach of Eastleigh Tornados in our first ever match, 27 years ago, my team was getting slaughtered when a parent asked me why I only had ten players on the pitch… I then noticed one of my players was sat next to the opposition goal keeper (Sean Wren) making a daisy chain!

4) What do you do for a job?

Work for the Cohens Chemist Group

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

Worked for the PFA at BWFC at the old Burnden Park as a school community coach and also as the clubs educational officer.

6) How did you get into it?

Started coaching by accident, went to join a men’s team and turned up early where kids were training. Manager needed a lot of help so stepped in.

As a referee, got asked to referee a friends team and really enjoyed it, so took the course and qualified.

7) What do you get out of it?

Love helping develop young referees, always gave u18s referees priority in games. Appointed over 200 of them to cup finals in the BBDFL

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

To young referees is to command your game, don’t let managers/coaches/spectators ruin your enjoyment. You’re there to support the junior players. Do as many games as you can. Always save a bit of your ref fee, so when things go bad, buy yourself something to cheer yourself up.

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

Not giving up refereeing for about 12 years, not getting bird flu… I was flying a few seasons ago and getting superb appointments, got a county cup quarter final and a women’s FA Cup game. Then the bird flu kicked in, missed both matches, was ill for two weeks. Fitness never recovered.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Has to be Bruce Rioch and the Special One, great managers.