From failed footballer to journeyman manager


Jul 8, 2010
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There I was, awake and in pain, having come around from this mornings operation and there was just one thing I could think 'my football career was over'. Everything I've worked so hard to achieve this far, bettering myself on and off the pitch, wasted thanks to a silly mistake of my own, I'd go on to regret it for the rest of my life, the operation now done, my footballing future now over.
Flashback to six months I was still in the game, enjoying my trade having been part of a successful group of young lads in the Yeovil Town academy, things were looking good, people were noticing my talent, my ability and casting an eye over me. The trials had gone well and I was signed onto a pre agreement deal, made a few appearances for the under 18s as the first few months went by and was fully enjoying myself. It felt like finally, after all this time, all this hard work I'd gone through, it was paying off.
Coming towards the end of the 2015/2016 I finally had my chance to make a proper impact for the first team, well that was the plan anyway. We faced Leyton Orient at home on the final day of the League One season where we all knew only a win would keep us up and save us from back to back relegations. I had the call from the manager Wednesday night, telling me I wasn't only in the squad for Saturday but I'd be starting! My first ever senior appearance was coming. I worked hard in training over the Thursday and Friday, I felt fit, ready to go, ready to make an impact, but I went on to blow it all, my chance passed me by...

On the Friday evening we were celebrating, it was a close friends 18th Birthday, they were all drinking, but because of the big game for me tomorrow, I stuck to the orange juice, last thing I wanted is a hangover and to be dropped, there was no chance I was going to put my future at doubt. The evening was young, just before 10pm I was about to head home when a my mate got himself in a bit of a tussle just outside the club, he had spilt someones drink and was refusing to buy another. They squared up to each other, foreheads pressed against one another, before he was pushed in the chest. I stepped in to try and stop it before it got out of hand, thats where it all went wrong.

Thats how I ended up the following day, surgery complete, football career over. As I was pushed my foot had got caught in the drain and remained planted and *snap* it went, my ACL was gone, my MCL was torn and the cartilage in my knee ruined. The moment it happened I knew it wasn't good, I knew it wouldn't be a good outcome. The club manager, Darren Way came to see me, told me the news, they wouldn't be renewing my deal at the end of the year as it was a long healing process and the chance of a full recovery were slim. I was gutted, the dream was over...
Thanks Tobey! Just want to try and create a background to the story for a change.


It took me some time to realise that the dream was over, my footballing career was gone. For a couple of months I struggled through my physio, through my rehabilitation to be able to at least walk and exercise on it again. I left myself barely contactable, sometimes it'd be weeks before I would make contact with anyone outside the house. Whilst inside the house there was always a slight tension, I didn't want to talk about it, I had the scars to remind me for the remainder of my life. Just being able to walk without pain took long enough, but eventually I made those first break through steps and things started to look brighter.


As the 2016/17 seasons began I had a strange phone call from Darren Way, completely unexpected and out of the blue. He went on to ask how my recovery was going and then offered me a way back into football, a chance to still be involved in the game I love, perhaps not the one I spent years dreaming about, but an opportunity. Having completed a basic coaching course back in my college days, Darren offered me the chance to go on and gain a proper qualification, my national level 1 FA Coaching qualification, perhaps my first step into becoming a manager and hey, I could be a world class manager if I put my mind to it.

It took a while, in fact until January 2017 until I finally got my head around the paperwork and the coaching side of things, along with my rehab it was always going to take a little longer than the 'normal' student studying on the course. I was limited throughout what I could partake in during the practical side of things and initially the first aid not being able to be comfortable on my knee. But the main news was, I had done it, I had completed it and was a qualified coach and now ready to re enter the world of football that was robbed from me just under twelve months ago. It had been a rollercoaster but it was time to refind the passion and love I once had for the game, the world was about to learn who 'Dan' really is and the future he has in football...

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