FIGHT­ING FIT

Derby goal­keeper Scott Car­son’s new busi­ness ven­ture

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Wragg

SCOTT Car­son watched this week as his Derby team gave West Brom a thump­ing. It’s noth­ing new. Car­son sees that kind of thing two or three times a week, although with­out any­one ac­tu­ally be­ing flat­tened like Al­bion were. Rams keeper Car­son has opened his own gym and he goes down there to do a bit of box­ing train­ing him­self, mix­ing in with the ladies who are hit­ting hell out of the punch­bags. Car­son is hard to spot be­cause the gym, in Lich­field, Staffs, is more like a night­club - dark, with mu­sic, a party at­mos­phere. “When you are danc­ing in a night­club you are less in­hib­ited than if you are danc­ing fully lit in day­light,” says Car­son. “You might not give 100 per cent in the gym be­cause of what peo­ple might be think­ing as they look at you. “So I thought how could we be dif­fer­ent? By keep­ing the lights low in the gym peo­ple can re­ally give it a go.”

Car­son’s gym is called Beat­box and has been open since the sum­mer.

“Me and my wife Amy wanted to get in­volved in some­thing and get ready for when the day comes that I won’t be play­ing,” he says.

“We wanted to do some­thing along the fit­ness side of it and we had a chat with one of our friends. He came up with some ideas and Beat­box was the main one that we liked.

Sharp

“It’s the one I can be­lieve in my­self and the more we went down that line, the more it was like how I train day in, day out.

“I thought it was some­thing, es­pe­cially in the off sea­son, that would help me keep up my fit­ness lev­els. The short, sharp sessions that we do in the gym are sim­i­lar to my goal­keeper train­ing.”

Car­son, now 33, hasn’t missed a Cham­pi­onship game this sea­son as Frank Lam­pard launches his bid to be­come the man­ager to fi­nally take Derby back into the Premier League.

It’s been an 11-year wait and man­agers have come and gone quicker than Don­ald Trump gaffes.

Car­son him­self is on the 23rd man­ager of a per­sonal ca­reer that has cov­ered 417 league games ahead of Derby play­ing Mid­dles­brough yes­ter­day.

He’s got a Cham­pi­ons League win­ner’s medal he doesn’t think he de­served, played in front of bay­ing crowds in Turkey and lived through the stick he took when he let in that soft goal against Croa­tia that cost Eng­land a place in the 2008 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship fi­nals and got Steve McClaren the sack.

Iron­i­cally, McClaren was then one of Car­son’s club man­agers and be­came one of those who failed to get Derby pro­mo­tion in two spells as boss.

So how is Car­son find­ing Lam­pard, some­one he faced as a player, as his new boss?

“He’s done so much in the game, he had re­spect from ev­ery­one the mo­ment he walked through the door,” he said.

“It was enough to lis­ten to what he said and

be on­side straight away. There’s pres­sure on him com­ing to Derby. It’s a big one for his first man­age­rial job and it’s go­ing to put him un­der the spot­light more, but we are al­ready im­prov­ing as we go along.

Im­prov­ing

“We’ve hit the ground run­ning and are in a good po­si­tion at the minute. Hope­fully we can keep go­ing now and have a good run.”

The Cham­pi­ons League medal Car­son tried to give away was from when he sat on the bench for Liver­pool’s epic come­back win over AC Mi­lan in 2005.

Chris Kirk­land should have been sub but was in­jured. Af­ter Car­son had deputised, he didn’t think he war­ranted the win­ner’s medal and of­fered it to Kirk­land.

He re­fused to take it, say­ing Car­son was a mem­ber of Liver­pool’s win­ning side, a ges­ture Car­son still ad­mires.

It’s a long way back for Derby to emu­late their own Euro­pean Cup days of the early 1970s when they reached the semi-fi­nals. There’s a statue out­side Pride Park pay­ing trib­ute to the man­age­ment team of Brian Clough and Peter Tay­lor that made Derby English cham­pi­ons and put them in Europe’s top four. But Car­son is still a con­tender. “I love the sessions we do at the gym,” he says. “Tony An­der­ton, who is a kick­box­ing and karate world cham­pion, puts them to­gether. “I’ve done a cou­ple. They are bril­liant, based on box­ing train­ing.”

Around 70 per cent of the 200-strong mem­ber­ship is fe­male. Car­son is un­sure why. When it’s sug­gested it might be the ladies get­ting it out of their sys­tem af­ter a row with the old man, he smiles.

Lights

But the ladies do get the box­ing gloves on and, with the lights low and mu­sic high, line up side by side and give the punch­bags, which look like alien pods hang­ing up in a sci-fi movie, a bash­ing.

“It’s a box­ing gym set in a night­club,” is how Car­son de­scribes it. “I was try­ing to be a bit unique. It’s dark, you don’t see too much, the trainer’s got a mic on.

“If your body is not in great shape it doesn’t mat­ter, no one is re­ally go­ing to see.”

The age range is from 16 to 63, and Lam­pard and the Derby team are due to go to see for them­selves.

Maybe it will help as Derby aim to knock a few more lights out on the

way to pro­mo­tion.

PIC­TURE: PA Im­ages

ALL-SMILES: Goal­keeper Scott Car­son is en­joy­ing life at Derby County and, in­sets, at his new gym

PIC­TURE: PA Im­ages

STAR: Derby man­ager Frank Lam­pard in his Chelsea days OLD DAYS: Play­ing for Liver­pool against Ju­ven­tus

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