Who am I?

in Sport Insight

“Talk about yourself”, they said. That’s actually quite a difficult thing to do – to achieve the right balance and to produce a narrative that doesn’t simply resemble a CV. So here goes – Who am I?

Well, for those that know me (and my shape!), you will be forgiven for thinking that football was perhaps not necessarily my first sport. Built for … well, strength…rather than speed, I was always a ‘rugby man’, taking to the field with a group of blokes with odd-shaped balls. From the age of 10, I pursued this passion. But then your body says “hey fella, after 25 years in the British Army, running up and down mountains, and carrying obscene amounts of weight in your backpack, maybe it’s time to consider a coaching role – after all, you’re not 18 anymore!”.

Little did I know at that time, that I would soon swap the rugby ball for one that was all too round.

So how did I get to this point? Well, at the tender age of 16, I ventured into the Army Careers Office in Lancaster, and after some discussion, testing, and one big shaky signature, I was committed! Several weeks later, my Mum and Dad drove me to the train station and bid me farewell to the Army Apprentice College in Chepstow, South Wales – and so the journey began.

An amazing journey with lots of highs, occasionally some lows, but an experience second-to-none. Would I do it all again if I had my time over? – absolutely; without giving a second thought! Those from a military background will relate to this; others may wonder. But despite the separation from family, the long work shifts, the austere locations, the ration-packs, the training, the unknown … and of course the fact that you’re occasionally being shot at, it really is an environment like no other; a family like no other and a camaraderie like no other. Having spent several tours in Gibraltar, UK, the Falkland Islands, France, Canada, Germany, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, the importance of a supportive close-knit family unit is unconditional.

And that’s exactly why, for me, the change from an oval ball to a round one was such an easy transition with Lynx FC. A committee made up of volunteers from all walks of life, united with a common drive and friendship, and a Club set-up that simply says “family”. I am now back in that essential, supportive close-knit family unit. And it feels good!

So, after a couple of seasons of managing a youth team, I volunteered to be Club Secretary. And in 2017, I was asked by the owner Mr Albert Parody, if I would consider taking the role of Club President. Unconditional values, engendering the importance of family, and with such a close-knit supportive team, it was a very easy decision to make – as easy as the one I took in that Army Careers Office in Lancaster, almost 33 years earlier!

I’ve now spent a total of 21 years in Gibraltar; my children were born and have been schooled here; I got married here to my beautiful local wife Kathy, and so I am now, finally, home.

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