Latest Nike Advert

Wow have you seen the latest Nike advert for the World Cup. It is like watching the football equivalent of The Avengers. Great idea and so well delivered, it will grasp the attention of kids and adults alike and what a great way describe football to the younger generation. Football should not be uniformed, it should be exciting, impulsive and we should all take this approach to whatever sport we play, whether it be Basketball or Football play it to enjoy, after all that is what a 10 year old version of yourself would say how the game should be played.


Community Award for Academy-Links

Last night at the Celtic Manor golf resort Alfreton Town won the coveted award of Community Scheme of Year Award earning the club not only the prestigious title but also an added bonus of 10k.

In January 2014 Alfreton teamed up with my company Academy-Links to run the community scheme and deliver my brand of coaching to the community and schools across the Alfreton area. Considering our involvement started only a few months ago it is an amazing achievement by my coaching team to successfully deliver week in week out the level of coaching sessions that I want associated with me and my company and the football club.

I am proud of the work both Academy-links and Alfreton Town are doing with the local community as we look forward to building and furthering our relationship that will only benefit the people and  the community of Alfreton.

Jake Buxton- From obsrucity to the brink of the big time

Reading BBC sports piece this morning about Jake Buxton, I feel it only right to give you a very personal insight into the year I spent with him at Burton Albion. He was in my opinion the missing piece in a very good team that Nigel Clough had assembled. Tony James, Michael Simpson and myself had all signed the previous season but the capture of ‘Bucko’ was a stroke of genius. He was the missing piece and it proved vital and pivotal as we romped the league setting a then record 12 league wins in a row.

In his first pre-season training session he rocked up coming from a full-time club, Mansfield, expecting us part-time boys to be not as fit or not as competitive but he was blown away by the standard, but that was just how high the standard was set by the gaffer (Nigel Clough). I think it took him a little time to adjust to life in the conference premier but when he did find his feet and his form he was an absolute colossus player and a rock that so many wins were built around.

He is now on the verge of the Premier League as he leads his Derby County side out onto the Wembley turf against QPR and I count myself lucky to have played alongside him. I was living near him so we were travelling partners and I got to know the real ‘Bucko’. He is such a down to earth guy and a proud family man. I got to know his parents and his wife Danielle really well and I know how proud they will be of him. He has turned his career around from being released at Mansfield Town to now captaining a championship side on the verge of the greatest and most lucrative league in world football. He has given me great support and encouragement as I set up my football coaching school Academy-Links, even turning up to meet kids at one of our half term camps. That just sums up the kind of guy Jake is. He would do anything to help you out and I for one hope to see him climb the famous Wembley steps to promotion and lead his Derby side into the promised land of the Premier League. 

Football is a strange game and every player if they are ever doubting their own ability should take a look at Jake Buxton. Being relegated and released by your home town club would devastate most but how Jake turned his football career around is amazing. Yes he got lucky by playing under Nigel Clough at Burton Albion and then going to Derby County with him but the cream will always rise to the top. People back in 2009 slated the signing of Jake Buxton to Derby County saying how could a conference centre half be good enough for a championship side. I always knew he was a bit special and he is a great example to everyone that sheer belief, hard work and dedication can get you all the way to fulfilling your every boy-hood dream.

Well done Bucko and good luck!!! 


Billy Kee Questions

Here are the 5 questions I handpicked for Billy to answer. A lot of your question were much the same and there was a few rude ones as well which I simply had to filtered out.

Billy for me is one of the best centre-forwards I have had the pleasure of playing alongside. He is your typical strong ” I will head anything” player. He never shirks a challenge and has consistently scored in the double figures over the last 4 years. 

I hope you like his responses to your questions and it was great to see so many people get involved from all his previous clubs too.


 Q1– I think Billy is contributing so much more to the game this season but would he be happier getting the goals?

Billy Kee– ‘I’m happy anyway, I have scored 14 goals this season and still got top goal scorer for the club so I’m all round happy with how many I have got this season’.

Q2– Does Billy relish the adoration and hugs of the more mature female fans?

Billy Kee– ‘Got to be nice to everybody, everybody needs love’.

Q3– Why he does not shoot in the goal area instead of passing it to another player. I used to like it when he used to turn and shoot when near the goal. Don’t get me wrong I think he is still a really good player?

Billy Kee– ‘My mum would say the same thing but I have not really had that many opportunities to turn and shoot this season’.

Q4– Your considered a bit of a joker, What’s the maddest craziest thing you’ve done while at a club?

Billy Kee– ‘I couldn’t tell you that one. What happens in the changing room stays in the changing room’.

Q5– Would you come back to Torquay, We could do with your goals?

Billy Kee– ‘Sorry but I would have to give that a miss now. I couldn’t move away from my family again’.

Water Is Great

Water Is GreatThis is a great picture that puts into complete clear view what we are putting into our bodies. I am not a health freak by any stretch of the imagination but I do eat healthy and so does my family. This is an incredible insight as to how much worthless processed bad sugars we pour into our bodies. This is why at Academy-Links I am trying to get kids healthy and active and enjoying the great outdoor life and sports. Sat indoors all day playing on a gadget eating and drinking rubbish is not the way to go at all. This picture should stand as a stark reminder that we as parents have such an important role to play in what we give our kids.


I have been very busy lately with my coaching company Academy-Links.Our new collaboration with Alfreton Town has officially been launched and our coaches have started in schools across the Alfreton area. The response from teachers, parents and more importantly the kids has been amazing. Our half-term camps are also proving really popular and we are hosting another 3 day camp in Doncaster during the next May break. Me and my coaching team are looking forward to continue building our relationship with schools, communities and the children themselves. I am a firm believer that we as professional footballers should be positive role models as we as a nation try and get our kids fit and active and avoid them spending hours on gadgets a day.

Then & Now

Then & Now

A comparison of the highs and lows of professional football… Or is it???

My Home Premier League debut against Liverpool for Aston Villa as a young pro and a more mature composed John McGrath in his midfield role at Burton Albion captaining the side.
I am making the comparison to highlight that I believe whatever level or age you play the professional game, it still puts you in the elite 1% of those who “make it” as a professional footballer.

I had it all. I was playing, YES playing, in the greatest league on the planet and living every young boys dream. But if your expecting the same old sob story of a player who had it all and now has nothing because I had to ply my trade in the lower leagues then this is not the story for you. Because for me I still have it all and have for my whole career. This is a lesson to every young kid that there is life beyond the Premier League. I have carved out a great career and had lots of highlight’s which include playing Premier League football, representing my country, winning league titles and captaining a football league club. Now that for me is a successful career, the lower leagues may not come with all the trimmings and riches of the Premier League but I went to work every day with a huge smile on my face and never once wanted to miss a days training.

So who is the better player in the picture above. The young naive untapped talent that had just come over from the Emerald Isle on the left or on the right the 300+ appearance holder who has come out smiling from everything that football has thrown at him. From spending summers without a club to long term injuries I am proud to say that I have come through it all and still love the game today and love my career that I have carved out for myself. So I think the boy on the right is a much better player now than the one on the left and anyone who thinks a player is done and dusted just because of his age or level he plays at should really think again.