My job primarily involves overseeing the Under-12 to Under-14 age groups, but I also help with the Under-15s as well. Basically, it’s all about implementing the syllabus within the Coombe School programme and the boys are my responsibility, so I have to liaise with parents and guardians and, with 20 boys per age group, that means 65-odd to take care of.
I started my youth development at Woking in the Conference and played for them in the first team for a couple of years. I was spotted by Fulham and then Kevin Keegan brought me in. I made my full debut against Millwall at Craven Cottage and scored - it was great because we had to win to win the league, which we did 4-1. Someone sent me a YouTube clip of the goal years later, so I have that to look back on. I’d been at Fulham for three years under a couple of different managers and learned a lot, but after I’d signed a new deal in the summer and had made my Premier League debut in August 2001, I didn’t get a lot of chances. The following February I joined Barnsley on loan.
I did well at the Oakwell and as a result, they put in an offer. It was a good chance for me, at the age of 23, to play regular football so I joined on a permanent deal. I was there for three years before moving on to Oldham Athletic for a year, and then back down south with Wycombe Wanderers, Bristol City and Southend United. I went back to Wycombe and now I’m playing at Woking, so it’s been funny because with my work at Fulham I’m back where I started all those years ago really.
I play my international football for Seychelles and have played in their equivalent of the European Championships and also played in a World Cup Qualifier for them as well. I left it until the later stages of my career to play for them as it can get in the way of your domestic games quite a lot. It’s not a bad trip for a home game, though!
I’ve been at Fulham for the past six years, whilst also playing professionally. I’ve been really fortunate to balance the two as well as going to university and I now have a degree in Sports Journalism and Broadcasting, as when I retired from playing I thought it would enable me to have options for a future career path. The Academy has been great and I’ve educated myself in what it takes to coach and teach young players. Playing and teaching is completely different and I’ve learned that very quickly and I will continue to learn and develop with such an excellent Club.
Since I’ve arrived it’s been incredible. I came in during the same season as Huw Jennings, so to work with someone of his reputation has been fantastic. I’ve learned so much from all of the coaches we’ve had and we’ve seen a real change in the ethos of youth development in that time. The quality of the players that we are now able to produce and bring in to the Club has increased. Everything is geared towards a bright future for Fulham, and our Academy teams are successful both on and off the pitch.