Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A time of good will…


It’s Christmas Eve and only today have I started to feel properly festive. Normally I get excited when December 1st arrives but this year it feels different. I don’t know if it’s because I am not a kid (although I haven’t been one for a few years now) but I’m no longer desperate to open my presents. I’m actually more looking forward to seeing people’s reactions when they open what I’ve brought. Although I’m not Christian so probably shouldn’t even be celebrating this holy festival, I’ve grown to realise that Christmas is not about getting the latest games console but instead it’s about generosity and everyone being…for want of a better word…nice.

I’ve got two very recent examples to illustrate that Christmas truly is a time of good will to all men and women including ‘Wheelchair Boy’. The first story involves my problematic night when I went to see the Oxford Street Xmas lights being turned on back in November (read the post if you don’t know what happened: http://theadventuresofwheelchairboy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/the-battle-of-oxford-street.html). As I said, I wasn’t confidant that my strongly worded complaint would get read let alone get a response so I was pleasantly surprised when I did receive a reply a few weeks later. However, it seemed quite standard with phrases like “we will look into it” and I therefore wasn’t too satisfied. Until I read that were offering me a gesture of goodwill in the form of £100 in John Lewis vouchers. Result or what?

The second bit of goodwill came last night. I’ve got a beard again but it was slightly overgrown so I decided to have a little trim for Christmas. I wasn’t sure where to go and by chance, ended up in FnS barbers on Verulam Road. He done a lovely job and even though I feel out of place amongst the butch men who love a good old drink after a hard day at work, I’ll definitely go back in the New Year. Even more so as I didn’t have to pay because I think the owner was in a very Christmassy mood. See, people can be nice.

Before I go to dream of Santa, ‘Wheelchair Boy’ would like to wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you all in 2015 where hopefully I’ll be able to blog on a regular basis (can’t promise anything because of other commitments but I’ll try to fit a few posts in). I’ll also be 21 by then so my writing will be more mature because of the added experience.

By the way, if you want to see a Pantomime, my brother is PC Pong in Aladdin in Stevenage. I thought I’d mention it because without sounding soft, I’m immensely proud of him as he is a great actor and finally the world (or at least Stevenage) can see that. I’ve already seen it twice and I definitely recommend it. Apologies if that last paragraph is cringeworthy and pretty random.

Bye for now!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Nothing new…

You might have seen/read in the news that a recent government funded report found that a number of high street shops and restaurants are not disabled friendly. Most people seemed to be appalled by the revelation but I am more dumbfounded that the findings shock the reporters as well as those in high office. It really is nothing new that access to certain places is poor and that businesses do not seem to care about disabled customers.

The Department for Work and Pensions asked my friends over at DisabledGo to run the audit on the government’s behalf. A group of researchers were sent to visit and assess 27,000 high street shops and 3,716 restaurants. Taheir findings were published last week (hence the media interest) but none of what was fed back surprised me. Some of the standout headlines from the report were:
·      One in five high street stores has no disabled access
·     A third of department stores do not have an accessible toilet.
·      Only 15% of retailers have hearing loops for the partially deaf.
·      Two in five food outlets have no accessible toilet,
·      23% of restaurants have menus in large print for the visually impaired and only 9% have hearing loops.

An issue that I have is people who do not know first hand how problematic something as simple as shopping can be for a disabled person overlook issues such as accessibility. They wrongly believe that legislation such as the Equality Act of 2010 are in place to stop discrimination but the report demonstrates that businesses flaunt this piece of law all the time. It obliges organisations to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people but they clearly don’t. It’s like saying because it is illegal to be racist, racism does not exist. However, we all know what is written in law differs greatly to reality.

The Minister for Disabled People Mark Harper responded to the findings by‘Calling on the retail and hospitality industry to look at what more they can do to better cater for disabled people’ but I’m not sure they’re bothered if Mr. Harper tells them off. I think the rules should be tougher such as on the spot fines if premises have one step but no portable ramp. That’s the only way businesses will listen and act. They obviously don’t care that there are roughly 12 million disabled people in Britain with an estimated spending power of £200bn so therefore penalties are needed.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Imparables…

That’s Spanish for ‘Unstoppables’ for anyone who doesn’t know (you learn something new every time you read this blog) and is the title of a new documentary film I went to see in London nine days ago. I received an E-Mail a couple of weeks back inviting me to an exclusive screening at the Royal College of Physicians near Regents Park.  I wasn’t too sure if I could make it at first as I had tickets to see Take Me Out being recorded but after reading what the film was about, it became clear that I should ditch Paddy McGuiness in favour of the premiere. There’s always next series.

The fly on the wall documentary looks at the "Pirates Team", a group of cyclists from Barcelona who are quite unique in that both disabled and able-bodied athletes train together. Some members have simply taken up cycling to get fit, others just enjoy the sport but a few aspire to be the best at a Professional level and win an Olympic Gold medal. The spotlight is shone on two athletes in particular, Juanjo Medez and Raquel Acinas, who became paralyzed following traffic accidents (both happened entirely separately). The story shows the lead up to the 2012 Paralympics, what happened in London and then the events after when they got home.

In the subplot, secondary characters are explored such as Elisa, who got on a bike for the first time just before filming began after having lost one lef several years ago. She was actually inspired that anything is possible even if you are missing limbs when Juanjo cycled past one day. After looking into the possibilities, she joined the "Pirates Team" and within nine months of training, finished one tenth of a second short of winning bronze at the Spanish Cycling Championships. 

If you would like further information on the documentary or fancy watching some bite size movies, please go to the website:

http://imparablesdocumental.com/eng/

The full film is not available until February (on DVD or VOD). It’s definitely worth watching though and will motivate anyone out there who can cycle but just can’t be bothered to get on their bike. It’s just a shame that there has been no TV or media interest but I guess that’s typical. Whatever happened to the Olympic legacy?Bye for now!

Bye for now!

Monday, 17 November 2014

The battle of Oxford Street…

Bonfire night was, as it is every year, on the 5th of November but there were nearly fireworks when I visited Oxford Street the following night. I heard about the Christmas lights being switched on a few days earlier on Capital FM so thought I’d go to the seasonal event (eventhough I’m not the biggest fan of Cheryl Fernandez-Versini) and get in the festive spirit. I went to see Kelly Clarkson turn them on back in 2011 and enjoyed the evening. Last time, there was a designated disabled viewing area just at the side of the stage because it is impossible to see over a crowd in a wheelchair. That wasn’t the case this year.

Since the ‘Access All Areas’ event in October, I have been keen to see if it as easy for wheelchair users to use Public Transport in London as the people at TfL. As I have said before, access to taxis is basically non-existent but I am pleased to confirm that over ground trains and buses are disabled friendly (well I haven’t tried them all obviously). At least the train to St. Pancras and bus to Oxford Street is. The new route master is quite plush and impressive actually. I haven’t tried the Tube recently but that should be another interesting adventure.

After a successful train then bus journey, my carer and I arrived on Oxford Street at about 16:00. We made our way to John Lewis where the stage was set and a large crowd was waiting to get in. There were event stewards on hand to help but none of them knew of any disabled viewing area with one security guard telling us to "get in the queue like everybody else". It’s probably not hard to imagine but I was incensed as you can imagine. We then spoke to a third steward who told us to "maybe go and try at the other end”. Bad advice.

Luckily I don’t suffer from panic attacks but a narrow pathway packed with 100’s of people is probably a claustrophobic’s idea of hell on earth. It was awful though. Everyone was pushing, which as you can imagine is very dangerous in such a confined area. I was actually scared of getting hit or someone falling on me. I even was concerned that some people in the crowd would get angry and start being violent. London is a busy place but it’s pretty out of order for kittling to be used as a form of crowd control in any circumstance, but especially when there are disabled people and children in there.

When we finally did get out of the crowd (the show was well under way by that point), two helpful young men were sympathetic to our story and wanted to assist us. However, we were outside Debenhams now so were too far away from the stage. One of them did guide us to a screen where we could watch it. This was better than nothing but I might as well have stayed at home. At least the speakers wouldn’t have blown. It would have also saved a massive headache and it wouldn't have cost me a single penny. Plus, Cheryl was only on stage for a minute and didn’t sing. Nothing new there…

By the way, I've wrote a letter of complaint to Oxford Street, John Lewis and Capttal (the latter two sponsored/promoted the event) explaining the issues I had. I doubt it will do anything but worth a try surely.


Bye for now!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Impersonators…

As many of you will know, I went to Brussels a few weeks back to watch Arsenal take on Anderlecht in the Champions League. We somehow managed to win in the end so happy days but I have to say I did not enjoy the trip as much my first European away day in Dortmund last year. Everything about Belgium disappointed me. The stadium was old-fashioned to say the least and lacked basic toilet facilities (the option was either a hole in the floor or one of the grim looking portable loos). The city centre is not much better with every toilet, including in a department store, costing 40C or more to use.

Another issue that is impossible to miss is the extreme poverty and the clear problem of homelessness. I’m not saying that beggars should not be allowed. I’m just making the point that everywhere you look there is a vagrant and an almost inconceivable amount of the homeless are disabled. Yes-poor people exist in London but the difference is that British beggars tend to be found in shop doorways holding signs where as in the Belgian capital; they pester people sitting in McDonald’s asking for money. I was just surprised because Brussels is the theoretical capital of Europe so I naively believed that the line between rich and poor would not be so visible.

Like I said, most of the beggars are ‘disabled’ and the reason that is literally unbelievable is because some are putting it on for effect. For example when we arrived in Brussels, a man helpfully guided our car back into a parking space using the old wave on then put your hand up to stop method (universal language). He was stood next to a woman begging in a wheelchair. By the time we got out of the car, the two had swapped positions and the man now had a cup that he was holding out in front of passers by. I should have been annoyed at this blatant act of fraud but I actually found the noises he was making funny and quite accurate.

Obviously, I don’t know if all vagrants in Belgium are faking being disabled but it certainly meant my family were quite sceptical when we saw other beggars (eventhough some were probably genuine). I even considered getting an empty coffee cup and seeing how much I could make before the match. At least I’m the real deal. I wish I could take it in turns to be in a wheelchair but unfortunately it’s 24/7 for me. No rest for the wicked.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Forever grateful…

On Sunday 26th October, I attended the Pearson Teaching Awards ceremony (basically the education BAFTA’s) at the impressive Guildhall in London. One of my Teaching Assistants from Secondary School, Sandra Stellon, was deservedly up for the national Teaching Assistant Of The Year award.  Unfortunately, she did not come away with the Gold Plato (was robbed) but was already a winner because Sandra had already been recognised for her exceptional contribution to the teaching profession when she was given one of just 59 Silver Teaching Award winners in the UK back in May.

This is an even greater achievement when you discover that there were over 2,000 nominations and an intense judging process. My parents and I were actually interviewed by one of the judges and all our positive words about Sandra must have worked. It wasn’t just us to tell the truth, All of her colleagues and other teachers from Sandringham bombarded the judge with praise and left those giving out the awards with no choice but to recognise Sandra’s hard work officially. I was delighted when I heard the news because so many schools do not realise that Teaching Assistant’s are so important and are the backbone of a classroom.

I cannot just focus on why Sandra is brilliant and has shaped me into the person I am today, I must mention my other Teaching Assistant Sue MacInnes (now retired) who I am also thankful to. Both did not just help me with physical tasks such as writing/typing for me but were also there emotionally in what was the most difficult and challenging part of my life. Going from walking in Year 7 to being a full blown ‘Wheelchair Boy’ by the time I left is devastating for a teenager but the pair kept me on track, making sure I didn’t get depressed and remained focused at doing the best I could when it came to schoolwork.

To be fair, it’s not as if Sandra missed out on much by not winning on the night. The BBC, like most people, obviously don’t think Teaching Assistants are that important so only gave the winner 17 seconds of air-time at the end of the show and cut-out her entire acceptance speech. If you want to watch the ceremony (eventhough the camera doesn’t zoom in on ‘Wheelchair Boy’), click the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04nvqck/teaching-awards-02112014. She did get a paragraph and picture in the programme though.

Sandra was nominated for her Award by a grateful colleague who said, “Sandra is a one of a kind teaching assistant who is irreplaceable in our school! She is a highly committed professional with the drive and passion to ensure that all her students are supported and inspired to reach new heights. She supports those with special educational needs and students who need additional help and in this role, she brings real and lasting impact to the lives of the students in our school. Her work truly makes a fantastic difference every day!

Bye for now! 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Inclusive Technology Prize…

Near enough every day, disabled people will come across a problem in their lives that needs to be resolved. The issue is that unless you’re wealthy or make a successful pitch on Dragons Den, the idea will never make it off the ground regardless of how brilliant the product is. Nesta (the UK’s innovation foundation) have recognized this so have set up a £50, 000 prize fund for any entrepreneurs who have a clever and novel idea for a piece of technology, product or service that will greatly improve the lives of disabled people.

As with all competitions, there will be a rigorous judging panel made up of a mixture of people including comedians and successful entrepreneurs. The winner won’t be announced until March 2016 (almost as long as an EastEnders storyline) but the entries must be in by Friday 16th January, which is just over two and a half months away.  The process takes so long because there are various stages and prototypes with detailed plans need to be produced. More information can be found by visiting: http://www.inclusivetechprize.org.

One of the judges is comedian Jess Thom who says that the panel will be on the look out for “new ideas that will have a long lasting impact for the 12.2 million disabled people in the UK.” I share the overall vision of the competition to help create a more equal society through assistive technology and/or products. Constance Agyeman, Programmes Manager for the prize, echoed my thoughts: “Nesta is looking for entries that are co-produced with disabled people and will improve the lives of the everyday person experiencing day-to-day challenges. He concluded by saying that  “The Inclusive Technology Prize is about making that vision a reality.”


Sometimes, you search the web and find that products designed to help are already available to buy but the cost is absurd. For example, after our holiday in Spain last year, it emerged that we needed a portable shower chair. A quick search showed that we could order one from the US but it would cost in excess of £200 plus the relevant postage and packaging fees. Way too much for something I’ll use once or twice a month. My mum came up with a more cost effective way. Buying a cheap foldaway wheelchair for a quarter of the proper shower chair would suit my needs just as well and so has been the case.

That smart idea cost nothing and actually saved us money. However, there are quite a few ideas I have to make life for disabled people easier and more bearable. Having financial backing and support from the right people is the main thing preventing me from turning these concepts into working products. Therefore it goes without saying that I’ll be submitting an idea but I thought I’d promote the prize on here in case any of you have some genius ideas. To enter, please click on this link: http://www.inclusivetechprize.org and remember the closing date for applications is Friday 16th January at midday.

I should say as a footnote that the Inclusive Technology Prize is brought to you (sounds like I’m introducing a film) in partnership with Nesta, Innovate UK, the Office for Disability Issues, Irwin Mitchell and the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

May the best man, woman or disabled person win.


Bye for now!

Friday, 17 October 2014

That’s what they think…

Lately, I have been busy with other commitments and have felt lethargic/ultra tired so haven’t been able to fit in a blog. When I do get the time to write a post, it’s either me telling you about an event in my life (i.e. when I attended the Access All Areas conference a couple of weeks ago) or an issue that I desperately want to air my views on. Today is the latter and as you may have predicted, the subject I want to discuss is Lord Freud and his, some might say, controversial views on disabled people.

In case you don’t know, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Work and Pensions was secretly recorded at a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference last month saying that “There is a group - and I know exactly who you mean - where actually, as you say, they're not worth the full wage”. He then suggested that scrapping the minimum wage was a sound idea that the Tories would look into because “if someone wants to work for £2 an hour, and it's working, can we actually?”

My first issue with what the great grandson of Psychologist Sigmund Freud is that he brandishes disabled people as a mere “group”, thus implying that they are a problem that he could do without. The most offensive part of his comments was obviously when he said that “they are not worth the full wage”. I do not need to go into detail about why that particular phrase is out of order and almost a throwback to the days when sexism and racism were rife within employment. Also, nobody within their right mind would want to “work for £2 an hour”, so if people do that would suggest that maybe they have mental illness and it is wrong for employers to exploit that.

This may come as a surprise but I am so glad that Lord Freud made those comments and it has come to the public’s attention. Perhaps people will realise that the majority of politicians (not all), regardless of party, feel that disabled people are a useless drain on the British economy. Like I have said before, it is only the fear of a public backlash that prevents the government from rounding up the worthless and exterminating them. Minority groups have been killed on mass before for ruining the economy so there is no reason why disabled people cannot be made the scapegoats.

What annoys me though is whenever the subject of disability is raised, David Cameron brings up his dead father and son who were both disabled as if that makes his attack on the less-able members of society more acceptable. It would be like ‘Wheelchair Boy’ slapping someone around the face and then saying “in my defence, I am disabled”. The Prime Minister’s stringent cuts on social care and the NHS, as well as the infamous bedroom tax, make it clear that he does not care about hitting disabled people the hardest. Emotively speaking about disabled members of his family is two faced and shows that he is simply trying to manipulate the electorate into thinking he is Mr. Nice Guy.

Bye for now! 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Promising for once…

I’m not actually sure when I signed up but I’m on the Transport for London database so get regular e-mail updates about everything to do with TfL from tube strikes to road closures. Most of the messages are pretty irrelevant to my life but seems as I travel into London quite often (mostly for the football), I thought there might be some important information occasionally so I shouldn’t unsubscribe. I’m glad I didn’t because the other week, I was invited to attend ‘Access All Areas’ at the London Excel Conference Centre where I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw and heard.

The exhibition took place on Thursday and gave an opportunity for those at Tfl to communicate with disabled transport users and answer any queries. I know most events like this are normally put on just to make it seem that the organization listen to the people and are taking on board all the feedback but in reality, do not care one bit. ‘Access All Areas’ felt different though and I left the Excel believing that the future is bright when it comes to accessibility on public transport.

You’ve all read about my previous issues on transport (if not where have you been?) and for that reason I steer clear of public transport, particularly in London. I have used a taxi recently but I did not have the confidence to use other modes to get about. I was therefore going to the conference expecting arguments but I was satisfied with what they said and have a new found confidence.. Back in 2012 was the last time I used both the Tube and a bus because there were some problems. Not major but still annoying and put me off.

The London Underground was first built over 150 years ago so obviously access for wheelchair users was not considered at all. Therefore, complaining to TfL that they should completely change the whole system to accommodate disabled passengers is unreasonable and quite frankly ludicrous. That being said, reasonable adjustments can be made so that, for example, other passengers do not have to help my carer lift me on board. I was relieved to find out that most of the stations accessible from the street now have members of staff on hand to assist with ramps. Some stations such as Leicester Square are completely inaccessible but like I said, old Victorian architecture cannot be changed overnight.

Buses have also never been the easiest to get on. I used them all the time when I was at University (for that short stint) and had a few difficulties. The ramp wasn’t that wide so my electric wheelchair was a tight squeeze. One size certainly does not fit all. On board, some wheelchair spaces are quite small so it can prove difficult to turn. Getting off was also sometimes a problem as the ramp would be set down in line with a post. Impractical or what? However, they had a few buses to try out at the show and they definitely have improved over the past two years.

From speaking to various people and reading the leaflets, it became clear to me that the Paralympics is the main reason why TfL suddenly care about disabled people and want to improve access on public transport. I’m glad that finally the legacy of those games is becoming visible for all disabled people, not just those involved in sport. It’s not just what they have done since 2012, TfL are also planning ahead and hope for the situation when it comes to access to get better every year.

Bye for now! 

Thanks Aaron for sharing this with me...

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Call me Coach…

After a 35-hour course and assessment at the end, I can now officially announce that I am a certified FA Level 1 Football Coach. That basically means I am now qualified and equipped to teach children up to 16 years old everything they need to know about the beautiful game. I’m quite ambitious and have mentioned before that I would like to climb the management ladder in the adult leagues with my realistic aim being Conference level eventually. However before I can even think about doing Level 2 and progressing further, I want to gain some coaching experience by developing those who are the future.

The main issue I’m currently wrestling with in my head is how I would be able to overcome adverse weather conditions and get across a muddy field for example. One solution would be to coach a Futsal team (basically an indoor version of the game with 5 players on each side) so I’ve contacted the Herts FA to see what their advice is and I’m currently waiting for their response. Also, I’m not sure what age group to begin with. Under 8’s won’t listen or want to learn whereas most teenagers are moody know it all’s so 9/10/11 year olds might be best.

People who know me and have heard me speak will be curious as to how I am able to give out clear instructions. I didn’t actually think it would be an issue until the course. To be honest, I thought people might pay attention more as they’d have to concentrate on my voice to hear. It was okay when the group were in a close semi circle but it became difficult for them to hear me out on the pitch. I realised that I would need a whistle to start/stop the drill and maintain a level of control. It also became apparent that I would need an assistant coach to set up, do any shouting that may be required and perform demonstrations to illustrate training exercises.

It soon became clear from the course that the FA is doing everything in it’s power to improve player development in grassroots football. The common misconception is that old school defensive tactics are still being used but I’m pleased to say they are not encouraged (unfortunately some managers think negative football works). Both Spain and Germany have proved that if the children are taught the correct methods from an early age, the National Team will bear the fruits in the future. Germany began a similar overhaul in 2001 and won the World Cup 13 years later so maybe England will be successful in 2026.

Anyway, I’m just eager to begin and put what I’ve learnt into practice. It’s one thing reading about how to be a coach, answering questions in a workbook, watching a couple of DVD’s and completing an assessed session but none of it feels real. I’m desperate to get a team and get them playing how I think football should be played (none of this Jose Mourinho rubbish). I also want to learn off other coaches so now watch Arsenal warming up before the match with added interest.

Bye for now! 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Fame at last (sort of)…

I have mentioned on here before that I listen to Richard Bacon on the radio (some might say that’s quite sad). Believe it or not, I don’t have the time to listen to the live 2-hour afternoon show and download the Daily Bacon podcast to hear the best bits. Richard recorded his final podcast yesterday though and is now going to work predominantly in America so I’m going to have to find a new podcast to assist with my procrastination. He wanted us regular listeners to e-mail in before the final programme so I decided to send a brief message in.

What I wrote was quite cringe worthy (you can listen below) but Richard read out my letter on the penultimate Daily Bacon thus illustrating that flattery and brownnosing does indeed work. You know what I’m like when it comes to promoting the blog so I mentioned the site in case anyone heard and was interested. I haven’t got a flood of new readers yet as I was hoping but even if I have made one person less ignorant about disability, I’m happy. I doubt it but if Richard does read this, thank you for helping to spread the word of ‘Wheelchair Boy’,

Anyone who is new will look at my recent posts and think that I am an infrequent blogger. While this might be true of late, I normally attempt to write on here about 3 times a week (sometimes more) but learning to be a football coach, fulfilling other writing commitments and supporting the Arsenal means fitting in the blog is sometimes impossible. I’ve also been ill which limits my brainpower and makes my writing not up to the usual standard. Hopefully the book will make my absence worth it so be patient (very, next summer perhaps). 

To hear my E-Mail being read out, please click the link (http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/dailybacon) and skip to 29:30 on the podcast titled ‘Toby Jones’.


Bye for now!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Back to school…

I’ve had a touch of man flu over the past week or so but I didn’t let a stuffy head stop me from getting to see my beloved Arsenal on Saturday. The only time I would miss a game that I had tickets to would be if I was in hospital and the doctor ordered me not to go (like when I missed a Champions League match in 2012 because I was in Hillingdon Hospital with heart trouble).  My family therefore urged me to have a much-needed rest on Sunday and concentrate on getting better. That was never going to happen though as I had my first football coaching course to attend.

I had been excited ever since I booked a place on the FA 1st4sport Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football and my imagination had run wild with dreams of managing at the highest level (what’s the point in trying something if you have no ambitions). I was under no illusion that I’d have to start coaching kids at grassroots level before I could even begin to think about taking to the adult game but I felt a tad inexperienced to say the least when I first entered the classroom. Most of the people on the course were already coaching teams and wanted the qualification to help them improve.

However, I soon realised that wasn’t a problem as I was just taking an alternative route; Doing the course and then becoming a coach instead of the other way around. I have still got three classes left before the assessment but the comparisons with school do not end there. I have been given a huge folder with sheets to fill in and information to read. We were also assigned some homework tasks (hence why I have been lapse on the blogging front) as well as being encouraged to learn more by going online, reading the handbooks and watching the DVD’s provided.

Right, Aston Villa away tomorrow for Arsenal and then another long day on Sunday to learn more about how to be a coach.


Bye for now!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Putting my money where my mouth is…

As you all know, I’m quite opinionated about many subjects but particularly forthright when it comes to football. That being said, I have nothing to back up my knowledge of the beautiful game with and people no doubt question how I can ever be right on football because I don’t even play. That’s why I have decided to start doing my coaching badges so that I have certificates to show that I have been on courses and studied the sport I am so passionate about. I’m not doing it just to show off in arguments though. I want to go into coaching and maybe one day manage a team.

From an early age, I wanted to get into football professionally and grow up to be a top player for the Arsenal like my boyhood hero Dennis Bergkamp. However when I discovered I had Friedreich’s Ataxia aged 9, that dream obviously died. It soon became apparent that I was a fairly good writer (please don’t take that as arrogance) so I ended up thinking that sports journalism was another way into football. I then realised I do not enjoy/find it difficult to be impartial so gave up on that career path. I now want to try and do what no wheelchair user has done in the history of professional football, manage a team of able-bodied players.

I have never coached before so my ambition of being the next Arsene Wenger is a long way off but you’ve got to aim high in life to achieve your goals. I might be rubbish at it and fail my assessment but it’s surely worth a try. The course begins on Sunday and consists of four tutorials followed by an assessment so hopefully by the end of September; I won’t just be a ‘Wheelchair Boy’. All going well I’ll have completed the FA 1st4sport Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Football and will have that by name (a bit like how teachers show off their achievements).


Bye for now!