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

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WHO ARE YA? Tom Finch, TOFFS

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1) Who are ya?
Tom Finch, 20
2) Who do you support?
The Arsenal
3) What was your first game?
Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool, 2001 FA Cup Final, 12/05/01
4) What do you do for a job?
Graphic Design / Marketing / Photography / Sew-on Numbers…A bit of everything really
5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?
I haven’t, although I have played 5-a-side at The Emirates, does that count?
6) How did you get into it?
Family business
7) What do you get out of it?
I can’t… [The question was “What”, not “How”! 😉 – GM]
8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?
Know your stuff! You never know when someone might ask you the score between Bolton and Sheff Wed in 1982! [16 Feb – Bolton won 1-0, 08 May – Bolton won 3-1, 07 Sep – Wednesday won 3-1 – GM]
9) If you could do it all again what would you change?
I wouldn’t change anything really…
10) Who’s your footballing hero?
Although there’s been a few players I admired growing up, such as Henry, Riquelme, Zidane, Aimar, my footballing hero has always been Dennis Bergkamp (AKA God).

WHO ARE YA? Simon Lansley, Head of Marketing & Communications for Street League

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Simon Lansley, Head of Marketing & Communications for Street League

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.

Follow Street League on Twitter – @Street_League

Get involved – www.streetleague.co.uk/get-involved

WHO ARE YA? Anthony Cooper, Campo Sports Ltd

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Campo Retro, quality retro football shirts

1) Who are ya?

My name is Anthony, I’m 25 years old and live in Manchester

2) Who do you support?

Being from Manchester it was natural to support Man City of course! But I lie, I was a Man City fan because of my Dad and went to school during United’s most successful years being surrounded by United fans whilst we sat in the depths of League 1.

3) What was your first game?

My first game was Everton at home. It was the first game of the 90-91 season and we won 1-0. I honestly cannot remember any of it as I was only two. I have it from memory as my Dad told me he hid me under his jacket to get me through the turnstiles for free.

4) What do you do for a job?

I work at http://www.camporetro.com/ doing partnerships and social media work. The kind of job I’ve been striving to get over the last few years through side projects like the Football Blogging Awards, which is how Campo discovered me. Not only did them offer me a job, they agreed to sponsor the Football Blogging Awards in a multi-year deal!

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

No, unfortunately. I once applied for a job at Man City and was turned down. Also, I never really plied my trade playing football, as quite frankly, I am shocking with a ball at my feet! I can see my future working with plenty of football clubs from a commercial point of view at Campo but at the minute my number is zero.

6) How did you get into it?

I started by writing a football blog and one thing led to another.

7) What do you get out of it?

Being able to work in football and work in something you enjoy. You spend about half your life working so why spend half your life being miserable!

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

I would say to others if you get an idea in your head and think it could work, why not try it. I told a couple of friends and my brother about the Blogging Awards before starting it. They laughed and told me it was stupid. Last year we reached 10m people and took 30k votes. Next year we expect it to at least double [It will, ‘cos of all the votes for No Standing!!! – GM]. Although it’s not easy! Expect a lot of hard work and all of it unpaid. I’m yet to see a penny of hundreds of hours work put in for the Football Blogging Awards but it’s all been worth it to get to where I am now career-wise.

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

Nothing. Why live with regret? What I will do is look at it from a future perspective and think how can I improve it.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I have plenty of idols and of course I’m going to choose a City legend. I would have to say either Shaun Goater or Shaun Wright-Phillips. Both were knocked-back throughout their early careers, being told they would not make the cut, and I suppose the message is is that you should never give up. At City they prospered and are now held in the hearts of thousands of City fans I’m sure.

Many thanks, Anthony.

Follow Campo on Twitter

View the shirt range

Campo also support one of the fine football publications that I write for, The Football Pink

WHO ARE YA? Keith Hackett, Refereeing legend and Professional Game Match Officials Ltd

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1) Who are ya?

Well my name is Keith Hackett. Age 69. Born in Sheffield where the FIRST Football Club was formed and where the Oldest ground in the World at Hallam football Club is in existence.

2) Who do you support?

Born in the North of Sheffield I support Sheffield Wednesday

3) What was your first game?

My first Game took place at Intake School, Cadman Road, Sheffield and featured
Sheffield United Juniors v Hillsborough boys Club

4) What do you do for a job?

I am now retired but my background was Sales and Marketing and I was a Director of several Companies during my career.

I helped to form the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd working initially has Development Manager and then becoming General Manager in 2004.

I introduced innovations such as Sports Science, Prozone Analysis, Sports Psychology, Buzzer Flags, Communication Kits etc to refereeing, and we were the first Group of Sponsored Referees.

I also started the process of getting the Premier League to introduce Goal Line Technology.

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

I played for a local Junior Club before taking up the whistle.

6) How did you get into it?

As above, I played for a local Junior Club before deciding that I wanted to take up the whistle. I then dedicated myself to learning the Laws of the Game and becoming a Referee.

7) What do you get out of it?

I get a great deal of enjoyment from having been involved in Refereeing and continuing to do so from the sidelines. I have officiated in over thirty five countries. I have increased this to 100 by travelling the World educating and developing referees. I will shortly be launching my fourth ‘YOU ARE THE REF’ Book with Artist Paul Trevillion.

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

I would advise any young referee that you get out of the game what you put in. Lots of Training, Discipline with regard to Nutrition. The highest level of integrity. Courage, Commonsense, Consistency and a great knowledge of the Laws of the Game and how to apply them.

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

 I would love to do it again with the support that modern referees receive from Sports Science and Psychology.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

I refereed at the top level from 1975 – 1995 having had a year before that has a Linesman.
Best, Charlton, Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, Platini, Maradonna and many more were players I controlled.
My star player was KENNY DALGLISH….. a 100 percent committed player who had a win mentality.
He was terrific.

Many thanks, Keith.

WHO ARE YA? Rachel Gibson, Business Development Manager & FootieBugs Trainer at FootieBugs Ltd

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Rachel Gibson, FootieBugs Trainer at FootieBugs Ltd

1) Who are ya?

Rachel Gibson, former Goalkeeper for Aston Villa Ladies 1998 -2006

2) Who do you support?

Aston Villa

3) What was your first game?

Villa v Norwich, standing the Holte End on a crate…Villa won.

4) What do you do for a job?

Business Development Manager. I sell the FootieBugs franchises and run the coaches training.

FootieBugs, through its children’s football based activity programmes promotes individuality and encourages this by building confidence and self assurance. We also ensure that children enhance their core skills by playing and learning together with their peers.

As such, the FootieBugs children’s football based activity programmes are designed age appropriately offering a clear step by step activity based programme that can be accessed by all. Together this encourages children to maximise their knowledge and understanding, their eagerness to participate and be part of a team and above all enables children to develop to their full potential

– See more at: www.footiebugs.com/what-is-footiebugs

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

I played for Aston Villa Ladies.

6) How did you get into it?

I started playing at primary school and a friend played for Villa and told me to come along to training, so I did.

7) What do you get out of it?

Fun and the enjoyment of playing, making good friends.

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

Never stop believing.

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

Nothing.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Iker Casillas

Find out more about Footie Bugs

WHO ARE YA? Lorri Wilson, Manchester United & Sign4all Ltd

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Lorri Wilson – Communication is the key

1) Who are ya? 

Lorri Wilson, age 53 but I look 35!

2) Who do you support? 

That’s a hard question. When I was little I supported City. Now I work for the Reds, it has to be United!

3) What was your first game?

Manchester City in the 70’s.

4) What do you do for a job?

Joint company Director, Sign4Sport Ltd (about to change to Sign4all Ltd), which is a freelance company to sign BSL to deaf and hard of hearing in the sporting world of football.

Originally, I worked in a building society and had a deaf customer, I felt utterly embarrassed that I couldn’t communicate, so I went on to learn basic sign language and carried on from there. I then went on to work in the education services for visually impaired and hearing impaired in Stockport,  This is where I met a colleague who introduced me to Man Utd as she was working there for an hour a week. She then decided to emigrate and asked me to take over her position. After working there I also gained a good name for being reliable and good at what I do, so word got around and other football clubs asked me to help. The work load was getting far too much and, whilst at Utd, I met my business partner, Abdel, and we set up ‘Sign4Sport Ltd’.

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

At present I work for Manchester United, but this has no connection with my own company – I try to keep them separate,

6) How did you get into it?

I realised that there was no-one who signed for the deaf in sport. All communicators, interpreters et al wanted to work in the law, hospitals, courts etc. I loved the Idea of working with and in football and I wanted to dedicate as much time to it as possible, making sure that footballers and coaches could communicate with each other via me or another. ‘Football speak’ is hard enough to understand for the hearing, so can you image what it’s like for anyone who has a hearing loss!

7) What do you get out of it?

Passion for the job and the satisfaction of helping people communicate.

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

Just go for it. You have to love people, and the sport. It’s a hard concept to understand, but you need to have the mentality of wanting to stand around outside when it’s cold and wet on horrid days at a match, especially if you don’t enjoy the game.  Expect to get muddy too!

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

Nothing, as I’ve found my passion in life. This is the best job in the world! Not the best paid by any means, but very rewarding in other ways.

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Too many to mention… but, for skill, would have to be Cantona. Others include Lionel Messi and David Beckham for their looks and Ryan Giggs for politeness and humbleness.