I am so pleased that you have found my blog, Fly On The Ball.
In my first blog post, I want to share with you why I have decided to start this blog...
Growing up, my only dream was to become a professional footballer.
- To be able to play football every day as my job
- To play in front of thousands of fans
- To hear my name chanted from the stands
As I got older the dream didn’t change, I wanted it more and more with every year that passed.
I was signed by Crystal Palace at the age of 9 and every year that passed in the academy was a year closer to my dream becoming a reality.
That dream was achieved on my 17th birthday and I’ve been living the dream ever since.
But what I didn’t envision when I was a young boy, trying to emulate my heroes in my parents back garden, was the ups and downs that the journey would bring my way.
Maybe I was naive in thinking that the career of a footballer was all plain sailing and full of highs. Maybe I was just so obsessed with football, I couldn’t possibly contemplate anything else but success and glory.
Oh, so gullible.
However, that naive boy is now boys and girls around the world beginning their own journey.
I’ve witnessed first-hand, way too many players with all the talent in the world who are no longer involved in football at any level.
It’s a ruthless industry and unfortunately, a lot of players fall out of the game because they are unable to control the events that occur and either give up or lose their passion for it.
This is where ‘Fly On The Ball’ comes in…
I am PASSIONATE about helping YOU discover what the journey is like.
Whether you are on your own journey to professional football or you just love the game, I am committed to helping you by using my experiences in the game, to equip you with the knowledge and awareness it requires to have a career in this game.
I want to PROVIDE up and coming players, those who are already in the professional game and football fans with somewhere they can come and discover the journey we all face within football. Both the GOOD and the BAD.
I know personally when I used to wish for nothing other than becoming a professional football player, that I never thought of anything other than the glamorous side. The privileges and the luxuries, but not once did I ever think to contemplate the other side of the game, the side that no one shows.
Through my experiences, I want to educate the next generation on what is required to tackle the journey whilst still finding the joy that football provides.
The highs always outweigh the lows but not enough is taught to us as youngsters, about how to manage and deal with what is encountered along the journey, both the positives and negatives.
You play football for a living, how could there possibly be any negatives to that?! How dare you not love every minute of it!
That is exactly what I would have said as a 13 year old speaking with an older, more experienced me.
Looking in from the outside, a career in football looks pretty easy and straightforward.
But not every player has the career the world seems to believe footballers enjoy.
Like any other human being in the world, we all suffer too. Both within the football world and outside of football.
The problems we face outside of football are often relatable and we can lean on people within our lives for advice and help.
But who helps the footballer who has just been told they’re going to be out for up to 12 months with an injury layoff?
Who can they lean on and ask for advice?
Family outside of the game don’t quite understand the pressure you’re under and what is going on, as much as they wish they could. Clubs aren’t always forthcoming with help and the player doesn’t want to open up to others because suffering is often, and wrongly, seen as ‘a sign of weakness’.
Who helps the player who has just signed their first professional contract on the sort of money they could only dream of before?
Who can they rely on to keep their feet firmly on the ground and their hunger for success burning inside?
It’s easy to get sucked into the ‘high life’ and let your focus on football wander. It can be incredibly tempting to take the foot off of the gas and fall down one of the many traps we encounter.
But sometimes we can’t rely on family and close friends. Sometimes we need a different voice, someone from outside of our support network to enlighten us and open our eyes.
This is why I have created Fly On The Ball.
You might not have faced any of the things I will write about or you may be going through some of them currently.
You might be aware of certain things or you may not be.
Whether you have or not, after reading my posts you will be more aware and better equipped to deal with such events.
I can’t remember the number of times I have spoken to someone about football and explained to them something I have experienced, and I am met with shock and disbelief because they didn’t think things like that ‘happened to footballers’.
There are things that those outside of football are oblivious to, but that is not their fault.
Unless you are told, then how would you know?
I will be writing about all sorts of things that happen along the way and also tapping into the football community to get their views and experiences on different topics.
Some examples of posts you will be able to find on the site over time are:
- Distractions for a young pro
- What training consists of on a daily basis
- How to deal with setbacks
- The journey from a parents perspective
- Dealing with injuries
And many more.
No one has the same journey in football but we ALL face the same battles, be it mentally, socially or physically. Positive or negative.
The outcome and the path we continue on after is determined by how we react to these battles.
How much easier would it be, if you had prior knowledge of what you’re about to go through?
Looking back to earlier on in my career:
- I wish I had somewhere to go to and find out about the career in more detail
- I wish I had known the ups and downs I would face throughout my career
- I wish I had someone who wasn’t an agent or a coach and directly involved in my own game, to lean on and offer me their advice
I wish I had a ‘Fly On The Ball’ platform to use.
Make sure you leave a comment below and let me know what you would love to read about.
Remember, this is YOUR chance to be that ‘fly on the wall‘.