23rd April 2005
The academic caps flew into the air, rising with the joy shared among the graduates celebrating the Graduation Day. Three years in the University of Bradford studying Physiotherapy in Sports and Exercise Medicine leads to this moment and I couldn’t wait to escape it for some reason. I didn’t have a job – I was £27,000 in personal debt and that was nothing to celebrate.
Handshakes were given all around to different officials of the university – most of whom I had developed a hatred of throughout the years spent here; it’s my last day with these pompous arseholes so I might as well give them a bit of attention anyway.
Driving home in my desperately poor excuse of a car I have had throughout my Uni years, I switch on the radio to hear some utter shit playing out. The AUX cable is needed so I switch on my rock and roll tunes of times gone by as I return to my apartment, which I will be vacating shortly. People invited me out for a drink of celebration. Can’t be arsed, I dealt with those idiots for long enough, never mind ‘just a drink’ with them. Fuck off.
I arrived home, updated my CV and sent it off around the country in the hope for a job piping up somewhere. Football clubs, rugby clubs, the lot. I loved Leeds United but I sincerely doubted they were looking for physiotherapists – especially in their financial crisis!
After they had all been sent off I sat back down on my sofa in silence. Letting life pass me by. I am Liam Knowles. This is my career.
FUCKING GET IN. THIS IS GOING TO BE GOOD.
Michael, MJK, Scott:
Cheers lads, hope you're all as buzzed as I am
30th April 2005
“Good afternoon, Mr Knowles” said Chris Caisley, chairman of Bradford Bulls Rugby Club, “Fine day isn’t it?” he commented looking out of his office window into the aqua-coloured sky that rose that day.
“Certainly is! Must be a good omen, hey?” I replied, rather cheekily.
Chris Caisley was one of about three people that had replied to my numerous applications that I had sent out following my graduation from the University of Bradford in Sports and Exercise Medicine. Caisley was one of the most outspoken and controversial figures in Rugby League due to his involvement on the board of the Super League coinciding with his chairmanship of Bradford Bulls, he was accused of putting his own club before the country by many critics. His belief that restrictions on the salary cap in the Super League should have been relaxed also drew many critics.
However, above all that Caisley had transformed what was a struggling club in 1989 to one of the Super League’s most feared outfits – featuring in six of the eight Grand Finals of the Super League era.
Lacking a physiotherapist, Caisley had received my application with intrigue due to the manager’s desire for a new man on the sidelines, and this was music to my ears.
“Clearly, you must be eager to get your teeth into a job in sports and I must say, Bradford Bulls is a significantly grandiose place of work to have on a curriculum vitae which also means that we are always looking for the best of the best people to come here and work for us whether that is on the field, sidelines or on the board. I would just like to know how with not much job experience beforehand in this fast-paced field of work how you expect to handle yourself in some of the situations which may arise on the rugby field?” Caisley asked.
‘Bloody tough first question that is, but hey, welcome to the real world Liam!’ I thought to myself. I answered comfortably, though, with no ‘erms’ or stutters. I was going to handle this interview quite well, I thought.
By the time Caisley had taken off his circular glasses and offered me a cup of water, I knew the interview was drawing to a close. “Well done, Mr Knowles. You handled yourself expertly there. To be honest, I’ve no idea why we had this interview because you’re specialist in your subject clearly, and there is no other candidate. With that, I’m willing to take a punt on you.”
A huge amount of relief eased off my shoulders. This has to be the strangest interviews ever, who offers a physiotherapist job on the spot? Caisley passed over a sheet of paper with dotted lines, presumably for my signature.
This is how my career begins.
Oh my we are going back in time. Is this going to be like Adams story without the war stuff?? If so I bet this is going to be amazing.
How is this going to transition from a Rugby club to a football club... Bradford Bulls into... I see where this might be heading now
Maybe a bit of that
Everything's depending on the way the wind blows at this early stage mate
14th August 2008
“Steve, seriously mate just leave me alone,” I said, trying my best not to flip out at the Bradford Bulls manager.
“Don’t you dare tell me what to do? Who even are you? You’re the f*cking physiotherapist and you’re trying to give coaching advice to my players? Why the f*ck do you think we pay our coaches like myself at this club if physio-f*cking-therapists are trying to do our jobs for us?!” Steve McNamara screamed at me. “Get the f*ck out of my club you idiot.” With all the expletives gusting from McNamara’s throat you’d have think he’d be an anxious old man with Tourette’s.
“Right, I’m leaving.” I responded to his tirade with an ocean of calmness. I walked out of the changing rooms which was thankfully empty.
I arrived home to crumble onto my sofa which looks out onto a quiet road outside my house which guides motorists around the estate I lived on in Bradford. I began deeply thinking about Steve McNamara’s words. The players loved him there, he was doing very well in fairness to him, but he despised me and I knew that word would get around about our encounter and no doubt it will be adjusted to suit Steve, I couldn’t work in that environment.
I began penning down a resignation letter headed to the chairman, Chris Caisley who had hired me in 2005 under different management before McNamara’s surge to be the main man at the club. Caisley enjoyed my presence around the club, but a joyful physiotherapist would never be picked over a successful manager. I knew that too well.
’I have thoroughly enjoyed the three years I have been at the club..’ I was writing. The strangest part of this situation was that I did not feel overcome by the situation. I knew that life would take me down the path it wanted me on. Besides, I hated rugby. A job in football would be wonderful. Unlikely, but if it required me to move house then I was okay due to the Bradford Bulls job paying me so well – one of the few positives of working there.
Time for a change in sports, I reckon.
Good update! nobody likes the Bulls. Well i dont!
That's the right attitude!
Completely agree, NFL for softies imo
25th September 2008
My Bradford Bulls nightmare had been and gone, no more would Steve McNamara be consistently bullying me on a daily basis about my involvement with player affairs. I was a free man, except that I had an interview today.
The Keepmoat Stadium was my destination this afternoon to meet John Ryan – chairman of Doncaster Rovers Football Club and depending on certain circumstances the manager of the club, Sean O’Driscoll.
It was a 50 minute drive from my house to Keepmoat Stadium. I had applied for a different role, though. I had sent my CV to the club and a letter of interest in a Fitness Coach capacity to which John Ryan had offered me an exclusive interview at the club.
I arrived at The Keepmoat Stadium and entered the reception at the East Stand. The receptionist – a large Scottish woman, maybe from Glasgow – dialled up to John Ryan’s office to make him aware of my arrival while I sat down in one of the most uncomfortable sofas ever. “Mr. Ryan is ready to see you now, Mr. Knowles – fourth floor to your left.” The receptionist piped up, to which I responded with a nod of acknowledgement.
“You must be Mr. Liam Knowles! Great to see you, please take a seat!” John Ryan greeted me when I arrived to his open office door, a great big smile plastered across his face while speaking to me.
Ryan was an entrepreneur involved in the cosmetic surgery business, he expanded his own cosmetic surgery company before he sold it off in 2002 before creating another business in 2007 with similar ideas behind it. Ryan also entered the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest footballer to appear for a British football club when he came on as a substitute in the 89th minute for Doncaster Rovers back in 2003, aged 52 years old.
“Pleasure to meet you Mr. Ryan,” I said, taking my seat opposite his desk. What made this interview different was the fact that I was not applying to be a physiotherapist at the club. I was applying to become Sean O’Driscoll’s first Fitness Coach for the first team at Doncaster Rovers.
“Looking at your CV, you were a physiotherapist for Bradford Bulls – why did you leave that occupation if you don’t mind me asking?”
I searched my mind for an acceptable answer, but no, I thought that I may as well tell the truth about mine and Steve McNamara’s altercation in the Bulls changing room. “Me and the head coach, McNamara... We had a slight altercation. I tried giving advice to one of the players about his play, but McNamara left me in a position where I simply couldn’t attend work anymore due to the embarrassment he caused for myself,” I said.
“Interesting. Now, about your suitability for the Fitness Coach role here at Keepmoat...”
Cliffhanger... sake Jack, sort it out.