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? 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? Andy Jones, FA Get into Football Officer at Salford Community Leisure

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Andy Jones – FA Get into Football Officer at Salford Community Leisure

1) Who are ya?

Andy Jones, age 37, lives Monton, Manchester

2) Who do you support?

Manchester United

3) What was your first game?

It was a long long time ago, so I can’t remember the opposition, but I just remember it was Ron Atkinson’s team, and Ralph Milne had a shocker!!!

4) What do you do for a job?

I currently work for Salford Community Leisure, managing a range of funding projects across a number of different sports. I manage a city-wide football coaching programme called Soccerstars, which has 5 sites and provides grassroots coaching for young players aged 5-11 years.

I previously spent 12 years as a football development officer for Trafford, Manchester City council and then the Manchester FA.

I also coach at a local Junior club, Deans Youth and Ladies, coaching the development centre for 4-6 year olds, plus my sons team, the Under8’s.

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

Just played my final season for Trafford FC, and I worked for Manchester United at the Carrington training centre every Friday as part of my role with Trafford MBC as MUFC funded the role.

6) How did you get into it?

I worked part time as a Leisure Assistant and a casual coach working in schools at the age of 17 whilst studying leisure management at Salford Uni. From that, I got more experience and got to find out about full time roles.

7) What do you get out of it?

I’ve always enjoyed sports, both watching and competing, so to work in the industry was the ideal job. I’ve been lucky enough to work on some major events such as 2008 Uefa Cup Final, Hyundai World Cup fan parks 2010, and Englands world cup bid 2018

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

Be willing to volunteer, or work casual hours to get your foot in the door and build up a good relationship with potential employers. Its more difficult now due to funding cuts within local authorities, but there are still opportunities.

You can build up employment by coaching for a number of different employers. Do coaching badges in a range of sports, and don’t pigeon hole yourself to one sport, as being able to coach a variety of sports makes you more versatile.

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

I’d try going abroad, probably to the USA to coach on summer camps. I have old friends who did that years ago, and now live out there and have successful careers in coaching football, in the sunshine in LA!

10) Who’s your footballing hero?

David Beckham. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him a few times, plus my current favourite player is Cristiano Ronaldo – easily the most talented and exciting player I’ve seen play live.