My Football History

My football career to date

Previous Football Clubs:
• Aston Villa
• Dagenham and Redbridge
• Doncaster Rovers
• Shrewsbury Town
• Kidderminster Harriers
• Limerick City
• Weymouth
• Tamworth
• Burton Albion
• York City
Current Club:
• Alfreton Town

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!!! 



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.

Man Love

Man Love

Who says footballers haven’t got a loving caring side! Although I don’t think Calvin Zola is too impressed with our unique goal celebration. This was typical Billy, always messing about and anyone who knows him will tell you what a character he is. But beneath all the jokes and giggles is a very serious and dedicated footballer who works hard on his trade.