When I was 17 I left school and became an apprentice with Fulham for two years, before becoming a young professional for a year. Unfortunately I suffered a bad injury, though, which then led to me getting released by the Club. I drifted into non-league for a couple of seasons before playing for Luton Town for a spell, but then I had to retire at 23 due to my persistent knee injury. Fulham’s First Team Manager at the time was Don Mackay, Alan Dicks was here before him, and my youth team coach was Terry Bullivant, while Ray Lewington was looking after the Reserves. I enjoyed working with both of them, they’re two very good coaches who gave me a clear understanding and knowledge of the game.
I started coaching a year after I retired, so I would have been about 24. I started working for Crystal Palace in the community and then as a result of that I built up a club called Junior Elite, which has seen a lot of players go to different clubs. A lot of them are here as scholars, people like Chris Kelly. The success of that club made my profile quite big in and around the academies, so a lot of clubs wanted me to come and work for them. I chose to go to Crystal Palace and was there for about seven years. During that time I helped develop players like Wilfried Zaha, Nathaniel Clyne, Victor Moses, Sean Scannell, John Bostock. Then Huw Jennings and Malcolm Elias asked me to come here in 2009 when they first arrived. They wanted somebody who had a good understanding of recruitment in London and players in London, and obviously someone who could coach as well. I’ve worked alongside people like Mark Pembridge, Kevin Betsy and Dan Thomas since then, and we’ve had a lot of success over the years, with boys such as Pat Roberts, Ryan Sessegnon and Dennis Adeniran making the breakthrough to the First Team.
I’ve always worked with the Under-15/16s, those types of age groups. But I have a clear understanding of all the young players. Part of my role sees me head up the London recruitment as well, so I’m also heavily involved in trying to find the next generation, the next batch of the best players, and trying to get them to come to Fulham. I’m coaching every day apart from Wednesday, which is when I arrange my scouting fixtures, making sure my team gets out to certain games. I also coach two evenings a week for the lads who are on part-time programmes. Saturday is matchday, and then Sunday’s a scouting day for me. I love it. There’s nothing better than when you see a young lad that you recruited or coached, see him go through the ranks, and then watch him make his First Team debut.