I’VE LEARNT MORE THAN THE PUPILS

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE -

WHEN I fin­ished my pro­fes­sional play­ing ca­reer I taught in a sec­ondary school – it didn’t last long be­cause, hon­estly, I hated it.

I thought, ‘Be­cause I was a foot­baller they will love me’. That lasted about two days.

I could tell a few sto­ries about play­ing against Manch­ester United that im­pressed them. Af­ter they’d heard that once or twice they didn’t care.

Then it’s a case of how you re­late to peo­ple. That’s the only way I got through that time. I’ve al­ways been good with peo­ple.

If an Of­sted in­spec­tor or ex­pe­ri­enced teacher came into my lessons they’d think they were hor­ren­dous.

But I man­aged to con­trol them and get through stuff be­cause I could talk to the kids more on their level than I could the teach­ers!

I was es­sen­tially more used to their en­vi­ron­ment.

There was one oc­ca­sion where I was try­ing to get a lad to do some­thing, but he re­fused. He wasn’t show­ing me any re­spect so, un­pro­fes­sional I know, I called him a d***head. I was try­ing to talk to him on his level.

He wasn’t show­ing me any re­spect so I didn’t show him any. I’m sure that would be frowned upon, but he did what I asked in the end.

While teach­ing wasn’t an ex­pe­ri­ence I en­joyed – and at the time I didn’t know how I was go­ing to get through each day – on re­flec­tion it’s mas­sively helped my coach­ing.

How many kids want to ac­tu­ally be at school – 50 per cent? At the school I was at I’d say it’s even less.

One big dif­fer­ence is our play­ers want to be there be­cause they are des­per­ate to be pro­fes­sional foot­ballers.

I cer­tainly don’t call any­one a d***head these days!

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BIG NIGHT: Ben Smith, left, played at Old Traf­ford in the FA Cup with Crawley Town

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