John: Founder/Head Coach u18s
I started playing football in the streets of Manchester aged about 9. By the time I was 11 I could do a thousand kick-ups but I had never played a football match. That all changed aged 11 when I made my school team and signed for a Sunday team called Woodhouse Rangers all in the same week. In those days I played right wing.
At age 13 I was scouted to play for Manchester boys in the school system which involved playing other school areas such as Bolton, Blackburn and Liverpool schools. This went on until I was about 15 when I was scouted to play for both the B teams of Manchester Utd and Manchester City. We trained at The Cliff and City trained at the Platt Lane complex.
As a United fan the decision was easy and training at The Cliff and playing in the B Team is an experience I will never forget. I got to play and train with Bryan Robson, Mark Hughes and Norman Whiteside. Being in the B team at United meant that after school two days a week, you would train at The Cliff for about two hours and on Saturday you would play a game against other clubs such as Liverpool, Everton, Chester, Rochdale or Stockport.
When you were fifteen and at a professional club you tried to get a schlarship – or YTS as it was then – to be a professional. Regrettably Utd never offered me a scholarship so I ended up signing for Stockport County instead. I was sixteen at the time and played my first game for the first team within a few months of signing. I was still aged 16 at the time, I played right back. It was a cold rainy Manchester Friday evening, it was against Rochdale and we won one-nil. I was at Stockport for three years.
Whlist playing for Stockport County I went to college to do my A levels in Law, Economics and Sociology. At the same time I also payed for my college team Xaverian (ran by the Xaverian Brothers). In playing college football I got to represent Manchester, Greater Manchester schools and North England Schools.
Going to university was the end of my professional career, however it launched a non-league career that I am very proud of. During my career as a non-league footballer I represented Droylesdon, Altrincham, Nuneaton Borough, Bedworth Harrow Borough and Chesham. I played for Harrow Borough on and off for about ten years, making over 500 appearances and scoring 50 goals from central midfield.
Having hung up my boots in about 2003 I started coaching. I coached the Harrow Borough apprentices who were full time and this progressed to coaching and managing Harrow Borough reserves. As well as being a former player and coach I am also an FA-Authorised Agent. I set up a company called Route1 Management, I run their scouting operation in the north of England as a player advisor. I am also a practising barrister.
Kirt: Founder/Managing Director/Head Coach u18s and Fitness Trainer
I love football. I love playing football, watching football and now training/coaching football. I played a lot of football in my youth, both Saturday and Sunday leagues for various clubs in North London. I especially enjoyed the training, which was sometimes more enjoyable than the games.
I got involved with the Sunday training with John around 5 years ago. I was walking through Priory Park with my son when I noticed John training around 10 kids. I asked John if my son could get involved and in return John asked me if I could help him out. Well, the rest is history. Together with John we have created this truly wonderful community- and voluntary-run football club. Proper grass roots.
I love every minute of my Sunday mornings working/coaching and watching the kids improving, learning new skills and most importantly having fun.
John and I have grown with these kids over the years and to think we have created this football club is a major achievement, not just from us but from the players, the coaches and most importantly the parents, who have shown us tremendous support and their loyalty to Priory Park Football Club over the years.