So my story starts here, in the small Kent town of Tonbridge. My name is Chris Ball, and I'm a 30 year old father of two, a seven year old girl, Miley, and Harvey, my boy of 8 months old. I've worked in sales in various forms over the past 12 years, but I am a man that dreams of so much more, a man that dreams of bigger things, better things, and where do I intend to make these dreams come true....in the torrid world of football management.
Now this is not a pipe dream of some guy with a fantasy. No....I'm a man with a plan. A plan in fact that was put into action no less than 8 years ago at the ripe age of 22. That's when I made the decision I was going to be a top European football manager one day, and anyone that knows me, knows that when I get something in my head it's gonna happen sooner or later.
So what was this plan I hear you ask... well I had a theory about how I could become a manager at a top club from day one with no experience in the job. One word....education. I'd spend the next 8 years of my life studying, learning, qualifying...everything I needed on paper to convince a high rolling chairman to take a punt on me and put me, the unknown quantity, in charge of his football club!
My theory comes from the world of everyday life. Having worked a short stint in recruitment, I was very aware that young people with University degrees were in high demand these days. Every man and his dog wants a well educated rookie for virtually every job out there - Hell, I was recruiting for van drivers for a national business and one of the pre reqs for the role was a bloody Uni degree.... So what happens when I advertise the role, I get a number of guys applying for the job with loads of driving experience, but guess what, no degrees. And you guessed it, my client rejected them. So I'm in this awkward position where I've now got to tell a number of guys who are perfectly capable of doing this job, but can't because they don't have the right qualifications written on their CV.
So I got to thinking that this could be implemented into the world of football. Who cares that I haven't come up through the coaching ranks, who cares that I haven't won trophy after trophy, award after award. Who cares that I've never even played football beyond a Sunday pub team level! Nope, to get my foot in the door straight off at a big club, I'd just get a list as long as my arm down on paper of all the qualifications I've earned. And then when the time is right, I'll put myself in the firing line for my dream job.
And so it begun. I enrolled for University, earning myself a degree in Sports Science to start. Then began my coaching badges, one after the other, domestic licenses followed by continental. I went to football games for two years all over Europe, keeping records of every match I'd seen. I analysed every game to absolute buggery, made pages and pages of notes, drawings, sketches, diagrams. You name a stat, I'd taken it, broken it down, torn it apart, explained to myself why it worked or in fact why it didn't. And what did I do with these notes, they went into a portfolio, something I'd take with my certifications and CV to any interview I was ever fortunate enough to get. I was going to sell myself as the ultimate statistician - the man who could draw up an analysis of any situation and work out a solution, or in most cases a devastating counter! I could see my name in the headlines now...
As part of my learning/qualifications process over the past few years, I'd taken it upon myself to learn fluent French and Spanish. I'm fully aware that most of the bigger teams in Europe are made up of multiple nationalities so I wanted to put myself in the strongest position possible to be able to effectively communicate with majority, if not all, of my players (once I'd got a job obviously).
So this is what I've been doing for the past 8 years of my life, around working as a salesperson of course to keep the roof over our heads and food on the table. But now it is time, time to make the dreams come true. Time to take the biggest step of my life to date and move into the world of football management. All I had to do now is decide where I wanted to go - with so many beautiful cities in Europe, I felt like I had the world at my feet. I was going to make this dream come true, not sit back and wait and hope something comes my way....and the club was going to be of my choosing. Misplaced confidence you may say, but I'm a firm believer in the saying that if you want something bad enough.....