I always dreamt big
It's something that I've grown to admire in myself over the years. I crave success in life and my career was no exception from that. I grew up watching football, it was one of the only things I enjoyed from a young age. I still have fond memories of my dad taking me too see the great Manchester United from as young as 6 years old. I came from a humble family living in Greater Manchester where money was not a problem but wasn't easy to come by. This did not stop my dad from going taking me to Old Trafford whenever he got the chance. Growing up watching a dominant United with the likes of Scholes, Giggs, Neville and Keane was always a joy. Football was my passion in childhood and that passion followed me through into adulthood.
I wanted to be the greatest footballer in the world. The next Ruud Van Nistlerooy, the next Dwight Yorke. I started playing when I was about 10 and hate to boast but I became pretty damn good. I played locally until I was about 15 when I was offered a place in United's youth academy. That was the greatest day of my life and I doubt that will ever change. I can't actually describe the feeling of my first training session but it was somewhere inbetween excited and scared for my life. We had a group of talented lads playing and, looking back at it now, I was nowhere near the best but I believed I was. That was one of the things that set me apart from the rest.
Never forget the importance of confidence because it helped me time after time. I played in the youth team for a few years before I was actually sold from United to Bury, another local team. I was devastated. The only thing that brought me to sign that contract was the promise of football within the first team. I could actually go out onto the pitch knowing that I was an asset to the club. A chance to really feed my ego. I was young, I was sure at the time that United would come crawling back. They didn't. To be honest they didn't get much time to.
I was on top for a couple of years after that. Banging in goals for the Shakers and I honestly believed I would bring them to the Premier League. Now I can only look back and laugh at my enthusiasm. But then it stopped. It wasn't the confidence that got to me, it wasn't the late nights spent trying to impress women. It was my knee.
I like to think that I was quite a fast player. I could fly past defenders with the ball at my feet and it was what helped me put goal after goal in. But I got injured pretty badly, I fucked up my knee in a pretty bad challenge and I lost my pace. Gone were the days where I could run rings around defenders and score a fancy goal. I was done. I carried on trying but in the end it kept re-injuring itself and at the tender age of 23 I was forced to retire from football. My passion.
I didn't let it stop me and here I am 4 years later with a UEFA B coaching license and an interview with the chairman of Oxford City FC, Brian Cox. We all start somewhere, maybe dreams do come true.