SPECIAL GUEST: Adam Davy, S is for... Soccer (P.s - Wait until to see the title he gave it! Haahaa!)
Today has been a cool day. For lots of reasons, but one in particular. Adam Davy, my big brother, has written a SPECIAL GUEST 'S is for...'. I sent him this text earlier on.
17:27 and he's finished writing. I'll tell you this about my brother. If something is getting done, he won't piss about. It's getting done. Nice one bruvvaaa!
I pretty much owe my love of football to Adam. He's the oldest, and because he's that much older than me, I don't know of a time without football. He was born in 1976. I was born in 1985. I was getting into football whether I wanted to or not. But listen, he isn't a dick of a big brother. He didn't bully me into it. He loves me, he protects and cares for me. He found a love and joy from playing football and he wanted me to share and enjoy in it too. He just wanted me to be included in it all and be happy.
Growing up in Wolverhampton I have fond memories of watching both my brothers play at various different points for Bilbrook Junior FC. EVERYONE, remembers the time that I was holding on to our pet black Labrador Poppy (or maybe it was Buttons, probably Poppy). The game had finished, one of the lads booted a ball. I'm holding on to the lead with Poppy on and off she went. There's me giving it a full on action movie sequence being dragged along by the dog! Literally, Marty McFly, Back to the Future 3, being dragged along through the dirt!
Given that Adam is a football coach, a lot of the time, when I was a kid going back to the Midlands, I would spend it with him attending soccer schools. I'm distinctly average at football. I had trials for Exeter City, I think when I was about 14. Clearly I didn't get in. I thought I gave a good performance. But ultimately I know my weakness was that I wasn't vocal enough on the pitch. I just couldn't communicate in the moment to make the best of it. I don't remember getting any feedback on why I didn't get in. But that's what I took from it.
I grew disillusioned with football as I got into my late teams. The hostility, the aggression, the fights. Ain't nobody got time for dat! Just play the game!!! Plus I got bored of coming home battered and bruised. Especially when it seemed like I wasn't making any progress and my team just seemed to always be losing. Plus I'd witnessed Adam spend months out with a broken leg. I didn't want that for me. It looked shit. It must have been roughly around that time that I started playing guitar, because I remember the house we were living in.
That said, I started playing football again this season. At the ripe old age of 32(start of the 18/19 season). All I know is, you are never too old to pick something up again. I got my Level 1 Award in Coaching Football last year. I already have my Level 3 in Basketball - which is far from my first sport. So, not being funny, I was always going to get on the football coaching ladder, no worries. It was just about having the bottle to do it. When your big brother is as qualified as he is, it can kind of make it a bit intimidating. That's just my paranoia.
Anyway, this whole 'S is for...' thing is partly down to him as well. I remember him using me as a guinea pig for one of his coaching exercises when we were younger. I have no idea what it was we were doing, but basically he was going to ask me some questions or say some things, and I had to say the first thing that popped into my head. From what I remember, "I wasn't doing it right." and that was the end of that. I think because my answers weren't the stereotypical answers you would expect. I think your mind had to have been developed and warped by the system quite a lot for it to have the desired effect. I was probably only 10. So if he said,
I have literally no idea what it was we did or said on that day. All I know is, it was something like that. Which is probably why some people think I'm so mental. I don't always fit the mould. Your psychoanalytical voodoo will only impact me so much!
But yeah, that's what the whole 'S is for...' System is about. Helping me control my fucking crazy mental creative mind. It helps me give it a bit of stability and structure. Plus, from a coaching perspective - as I've explained before - there are shit tons of useful words beginning with S that you can use to help improve yourself or others; skills, speed, strength, smarts, spirituality, strategy being the main ones I focus on.
Anyway...this isn't about me. This is about my bro. Enjoy.
S is for... Soccer - but please don’t ever call it that again. Or “footy” for that matter. Ok? It’s FOOTBALL. I’m glad to get that off my chest - now breathe.
The beautiful game, a worldwide sport that unifies and unites. According to FIFA's Big Count survey in 2014, there are 265 million players actively involved in football around the world, roughly about 4 percent of the world's population. These are registered players of all genders, cultures and orientation. It does not include the countless numbers that have a kick about in the park, on a beach, in the street or anywhere where there is a ball (or something to use as a ball).
We were banned from playing football in the playground at primary school (circa 1985) even though we used a sponge ball. Actually, it was the ball that was banned! Did that stop us? Not at all - a pair of gloves turned inside out proved a perfect replacement. Jumpers for goalposts. Game on!
Football was my passion, hobby and first true love from the age of around 8. Desperate to leave school and make a career in the sport it’s now been my occupation for 25 years, and counting. Firstly, I obtained coaching qualifications and spent hours coaching children. More recently I oversee a team of coaches who deliver a variety of sessions that use the sport to make positive differences to people’s lives. A real pleasure.
I remember the early days of playing in the garden. Every year, without fail, the lawn needed re-laying. We played in the garden, the street, the driveway. How better to know you’ve scored a goal than the clatter of a ball against a garage door. Who needs goal line technology and VAR?? And can you even claim to have had a childhood if you haven’t watched (in slow motion) your best strike sail cleanly through a kitchen window pane? Thanks to double glazing, today’s children will never experience the horror of the sound of glass shattering followed by a gut-wrenching scream from your mum.
Everyone worth their weight in gold collected Panini Football Stickers. Got, got, need, got, need, need and so on. We knew from memory which of the 100s of stickers we needed to complete the album. Two regular stickers for a shiny. If only they were still 10p a pack!
Football has given me, and millions of others, friendships & foes and heroes & villains. Watching your idols from the stands (yes, we did stand to watch football back then) and singing your teams anthems are the memories that live forever. Goals, fouls, promotions, relegations and cup wins. Football is a church, an almost religious following through thick & thin and hopefully not a prawn sandwich in site.
To play in a team (football or otherwise), with your best friends, is something all children should experience. The comradeship of taking on the world with your friends lives long in the memory. Thankfully, we were quite good as kids. League and cup wins still feel as fresh today as they did in our grassroots days. And form many a conversation as adults while we reminisce our moments as stars! Play football people... Encourage your kids. But don’t become that loathsome parent who relives their childhood through their kids. Just watch and enjoy the youth of today getting from football what you (hopefully) got from the game - like I did.
Football splits opinion. Don’t get dragged down with the politics of the game. Just enjoy it in its purest form. Far be it for me to eulogise. Perhaps these legends of the game are better placed to sum up the world’s most popular sport...
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”
⁃ Bill Shankly
“If God had wanted us to play football in the clouds, he'd have put grass up there.”
⁃ Brian Clough
“The work of a team should always embrace a great player, but the great player must always work.”
⁃ Sir Alex Ferguson
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
"If I had the choice between Messi and Ronaldo for my team? I'd retire and take both of them, to be sure that we win!"
⁃ Kylian Mbappe (future Ballon d’Or)
And to finish, here’s a list of 10 players that influenced my childhood during the 80’s and 90’s (I could’ve listed 100+ but kept it to 10 in no particular order)...
⁃ Chris Waddle
⁃ Paul Gascoigne
⁃ Paulo Maldini
⁃ Diego Maradona
⁃ Ruud Gullit
⁃ Marco Van Basten
⁃ Peter Shilton
⁃ Ian Rush
⁃ Neville Southall
⁃ Cyrille Regis
*Note: I became every one of those players, and more, over Joeys Lane(our Wembley stadium). Imagination is a wonderful thing!!!
Who doesn't love a good quote?
Yeah he's kind of already done that bit. Moving on.
Songs to listen to now:
We Are The Champions - Queen
Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry & The Pacemakers
Three Lions - Baddiel and Skinner & Lightning Seeds
World in Motion - New Order
Vindaloo - Fat Les
The Liquidator - The Harry J All Stars
Fog on the Tyne - Paul "Gazza" Gascoigne
Blue Moon - Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart
I'm forever blowing bubbles - Cockney Rejects
Z Cars - TV Show Theme Tune Bangers!! Bangers!! Bangers!! All day on Football FM!