Jord Scott interview.

Jord Scott Interview.

Jord Scott has had some great experiences in football at his young age and his love for football and the components that surround footballers and coaches behaviours is something that he also has a passion of understanding that little bit better as he continues his own great work.

I caught up with the manager at Poulton Royal’s first team to discuss his time in the game so far and the steps that he is taking to improve the skills that he has already built. 

Hi Jord, just to start our chat off, would you be able to talk about your love of football? When did you first start to watch the sport, did you grow up in a sporting environment and when did you make the decision to start coaching?

Hi Ethan, thank you for having me, I have been keeping tabs on the good work you’re doing with our West Cheshire friends at West Kirby. As a club we wish Nathan and all of the lads at West Kirby all of the best for the rest of the season.

I was the same as most young kids who walked on muddy, long grassed parks after school, dreaming of scoring that winning goal at Wembley for your club, wheeling away to celebrate with your fans. My youngest memories of football were playing heads and volleys at Flynns piece in Wallasey with my brother and a few of my friends. The routine would be the same most days, in from school, out to the park, in for tea, game of FIFA, bed and then start it all over again the next day. 

My very first memories of being coached how to play football was at Belvedere fields in Wallasey. From the age of around 4/5, every Saturday morning my brother and I would go to a coach-led session where we learnt the key fundamentals of the game; running, jumping, kicking, throwing, shooting etc. These fine motor skills are vitally important to be learnt at a young age as it gives a player the foundations to be able to then develop their skills and progress. 

I was always football mad as a child. I’d be pestering my dad most days to go to the shop to buy football stickers and cards to go into the Panini book. One season I remember going to the lengths of buying a Ricardo Gardiner card off Ebay to complete all of the cards for each club that season. The Tranmere squad used to be pinned up on my wall in my bedroom with a signed Ian Goodison shirt every season until I was a teenager, cliche, I know but they were the best days of my childhood. 

In regards to coaching, it was cricket where I had my first experience of coaching. My brother and I played for New Brighton Cricket Club where I was fortunate enough to be the captain of my age group from 12 all the way up to 16. Within that time, I helped the coach, Kev Bowe who has sadly passed now, with the sessions. Helping carry and set up the equipment for the session, gaining key organisation and leadership skills through helping Kev. When I was 15/16 I was asked to lead the sessions, ensuring that the key components of the session were directly linked to our next game to better our opponents. I really enjoyed coaching our group of players and would always ensure small details were seen as important to the group. For example, we would look at our next opponents and discuss their league position, points, runs, wickets etc so we all, as a group, had the best possible knowledge and understanding going into the game. These experiences from New Brighton Cricket Club was one of the main, if not the biggest influence on my decision to study a teaching degree at University and currently teaching at a secondary school.

When you made that decision, how long did it take you to get your coaching badges and a little bit of recognition in the game? Did you have some good contacts and what do you think are the key ingredients to being a good coach? How would you describe your playing style?

The decision to go into football coaching was again unconventional. Until the age of 21, I had never considered doing my coaching badges. I was still playing full time. I played for Manor Football Club when I was a child and from 15 played for an open aged Tranmere Rovers side. I also played for my University team, Edge Hill, until the age of 21. In my final year of University, whilst playing an away game in London I sadly got injured which resulted in a grade 3 tear of my Anterior Cruciate Ligament and a grade 2 meniscus tear in my knee. This, in effect, ended the training every night, injury free player and entered a much more cautious and calculated player. As many people who have had the same injury, you’re in the unknown. Some players never play again, some partially recover and a smaller number make a full recovery. 

The specialists and physios told me I was looking at an absolute minimum recovery period of 8 months but a more realistic timeline of 10-12 months to make a full recovery. With it being a double injury, ACL and meniscus, I had to wear a leg brace from my hip to the middle of my shin for 3 months, with the degree and movement of the brace turning by 5 degrees every week. This was the first time I had been injured for more than 3/4 weeks. After the operation, I had a decision to make. Do I mope around for the next 12 months or do I try to make the best out of a bad situation and enhance my knowledge of the game? As a player, you do see the game in a completely different light than when you’re coaching and managing. As a player, you turn up to training and matches, play and go home, which is fine, as a player you know no different. Managing and coaching is completely different and for me, more enjoyable and I always advocate for young players to do their coaching or refereeing badges to see the game from a different angle. 

I was fortunate enough as a post graduate in my first teaching job to work in a school where the headteacher understood the key values of sport and physical activity. This allowed me to coach the school football side and plan fixtures for the team to play. Through my sport and physical activity work at the school, I networked and moved to another school which allowed me to become in contact with Symon Stanley, head of PE at the school and the manager of West Kirby Youth Team. I asked if I could come down and watch the games and then eventually was asked to become a coach on his management team. The team was in the West Cheshire Youth League, a good, competitive division which is the feeder to most West Cheshire sides. The majority of the players in Symons Youth side would play at 11 on the Saturday morning then be playing in West Kirby Reserves team, in West Cheshire Division 2, at 3 o’clock that same day. This allowed the players to gain vital men’s team appearances at a good level, being competitive in every game which enhanced their game knowledge and experience at a young age. 3 of the players who were in that Youth side still play regularly for me now in my first team; Ben Wagstaff, Luke Brady and Nathan Quest. All 3 of them players now are at the age of 21 having 60/70 appearances within a covid stricken couple of years and have become experienced in this league at such a young ages. 

With me still recovering from my operation, it was a great experience for me to be at a good, stable West Cheshire Football Club in West Kirby coaching a really exciting young side. By being at West Kirby, it allowed me to complete my FA Level 2 coaching badge which I found informative and set a good foundation for me to potentially have a career in football. I always want to thank Roy (Chairman of West Kirby), Symon Stanley (Youth team manager) and Austin Daulby (assistant manager) for the opportunity to coach at West Kirby Football Club. 

Who were the first team you managed, what lessons did you learn as time passed by and what were your initial ambitions for yourself as a football manager?

At the end of the 2017/18 season we decided, as a management team, to leave West Kirby to become the management team at Heswall Reserves. It was a no-brainer for us at the time, Heswall has a rich history in West Cheshire with good players and great facilities. My role was the assistant manager, with Symon Stanley being the manager. We were fortunate that the majority of players from the West Kirby Youth team came over to Heswall with us with the additions of experienced West Cheshire players such as Ian Collinger and Jonathan White. Again, a cliche but that season was a massive learning curve for our young players as well as Symon and I who had never coached or managed in the West Cheshire mens divisions before. I remember our first away game of the season was away to Maghull Reserves. Anyone from the Wirral, who is in football knows the difficulty of playing away to Liverpool sides. Maghull had 2 yard dog centre halves, quick wingers and an old school centre forward who was a 6 yard merchant goalscorer. We lost 3-1 and I definitely think the lads slept well that night and the forwards woke up with lumps and bruises on their shins on Sunday morning. 

We finished fourth to bottom that season with a stronger end to the campaign. Heswall, being a big and ambitious club, wanted a change of personnel at the end of the season. This did leave the players and I club-less as well as Symon deciding to hand up the clipboard and retire from managing. I had around 3/4 months left of my rehab so I was at a bit of an in-between stage of carrying on coaching / managing at a different club or continuing with my rehab and being a player again. I knew the players would go wherever I did if I did want to continue coaching. I knew these players were good enough to play in West Cheshire and made the decision to continue as a player coach / manager. Jonathan White and I met with Tommy Carroll, the player / manager / secretary of Poulton Royal Football Club (West Cheshire Division 2) about the possibility of becoming their reserve team for the next season. Poulton Royal had been successful in previous years, gaining promotion from West Cheshire Division 3 and trying to stabilise themselves as a division 2 side. 

I explained to Tommy that we were a young side who enjoyed playing football and the ambition for me, in the next season was to give our lads more experience of this division as well as aiding the first team with good, young players who were in-form from the reserves. The discussions were positive with Tommy who shared the same ideas as I and ultimately became an easy decision to move to the club. 

We gained a good relationship with Jimmy O’Gorman and Manor Club JFC in the pre season leading up to the campaign, playing them as well as offering some of their young lads minutes for us in friendlies which we then later signed. Jimmy’s son, James as well as Jacob Howard and Kyle Evans all joined the club from Manor. The three were all 16 at the time and with discussions with Jimmy, felt they had outgrown their youth division and were ready to train with adults. At Royal we train twice a week so the lads got up to speed pretty quickly and have been fantastic for us since being at the club. Jacob, becoming the Football Clubs youngest ever scorer at 17, James playing for the first team in that season and Kyle eventually joining the Steven Gerrard Academy and travelling to Spain to play for Alicante City FC. This relationship was key for us, as it provided a natural feeder of players into the reserve side which was important for us as the season went on. These young players, added together with experienced players at the level, Jonathan White, Steven Casey and Jon Christiansen provided our young players a good platform to develop and learn as young footballers. 

The season became condensed due to COVID-19 so we only played 16 games in the 2020/21 campaign. Still, even though it was condensed, our objectives were still met, to give our young players experience of the division to ultimately progress in the 2021/22 season. We reached the quarter final of the league cup and the semi final of the Wirral Amateur Cup, losing in the last minute against a very experienced Ellesmere Port Town side. We were proud of our efforts that season and knew we were in a good position to progress in the following season. 

At the end of the season, Tommy approached me and offered me the first team manager’s role. The committee had made a decision for the club to go to West Cheshire Division Three and create a solid foundation for the club and build from there. I gladly accepted the role and never looked back. We merged our good, young players with more experienced players from the previous 1st team to form the squad we currently have. 

Management in sport brings a lot of success, but what for you (results and trophies aside) constitutes success in the lower leagues?

There are many variables to each football club with many different opinions on what success is. If you asked any supporter or player they will say to gain promotion and win all of the trophies available come May is a successful season but realistically each club will have their own targets and objectives on what they deem success to be. Success to Poulton Royal last season was to integrate good, young, local footballers into the West Cheshire Division to hopefully have long and sustainable careers at this level and above. This objective was met last season. To be successful, you always have to evaluate all aspects of an organisation, look at what is working and look at what could be improved, we are not different. At the end of the season, the committee, the first team and reserves were all in agreement that the club had underperformed on the pitch this season but had significantly improved off the pitch. 

We were proud to give 15 players under the age of 20 a minimum of 10 games between the two sides across the 2020/21 West Cheshire season. Personally, of course I would have liked more points on the board but speaking for my reserve side last year, I viewed the 2020/21 season as a success. I am extremely proud of how inclusive and diverse we are as a Football Club, we will never say no to a player to come and train with us no matter what level of ability they are, we believe that there are many skills outside of footballing ability that can be taught and learnt in a football club. A football club/ team should allow players to have a sense of belonging and a group of friends they can see on a regular basis and have support from. We are proud to have a player in our squad who is in a same sex relationship and we have furthermore supported the LGBT+ community with our captains armband being rainbow, showing our support as a Football Club. 

We are just over the halfway point of the 2021/22 season with us sitting 2nd in the division with a very realistic chance of gaining promotion to West Cheshire 2. We currently have 41 points from 18 games, winning 13, drawing 2 and losing 3. In terms of success, we are a financially stable Football Club who train twice a week with a squad of players who have won over 75% of their games this season so far. We are 36 points better off than the whole of last campaign with our young players who we integrated into the division last season, being key first team regulars this season who have had an enormous impact to the success of our season so far. 

The committee and management staff are ambitious and will not allow the club to stagnate, our vision is to expand the Football Club to ensure there is always a natural feeder into the reserves and first team and become a solid football foundation for younger players, no matter of their ability to be involved within a club where they can call home. 

When did you first get involved with Cammell Laird F.C and Poulton Royal F.C? Were these clubs that you had always known of throughout your footballing journey and why did you want to go to both clubs?

In November 2021 I was put in contact with Stuart Humphreys, the Director of Football at Cammell Lairds 1st team who allowed me to go and observe training sessions and as of recently, been active in doing bits of coaching with them. Cammell Lairds are currently 10th place in the North West Counties Division One South with the ambition of the club this season is to cement their place in the top 10 of the division at the end of the campaign. Cammell Lairds has a great foundation in the heart of local Wirral football, with them being most Tranmere fans’ second team. The majority of the players at Lairds are young, Wirral based players who ‘get’ the club. Lairds don’t have the luxury to have an extensive budget and do fantastically well with the resources they have at the club. 

With both clubs; Cammell Lairds and Poulton Royal training twice a week, it is allowing me to be near enough full time in football (in the evenings), outside of my teaching job. I thoroughly enjoy being in the football environment and this is a realistic route I have looked at for a future career. I am currently studying a MSc, Masters in Mental Health at Edge Hill University and soon to enrol on to the SENCO award for my current occupation. As much as these qualifications were originally catered towards my teaching job, there have been many aspects of my masters which overlaps with football and has really helped my thoughts around players, staff and volunteers at both clubs. 

In terms of football, my next badge to complete is my UEFA B licence which I am looking to enrol on in the near future. Gaining experience as a manager at Poulton Royal as well as observing and learning of the management staff at Cammell Lairds, Stuart Keir, assistant manager Josh and Director of Football Stuart Humphreys has enhanced my knowledge of the game at a higher level. I am really enjoying my time at Cammell Lairds and can’t thank them enough for the support they are currently giving me. 

Focusing on 2021/22 in comparison to years gone by, how would you say this season is going for both clubs and what do you see as realistic aims for the future?

As stated previously, our objective for last season at Poulton Royal was to allow our young players to gain experience and give them vital minutes throughout the season. However, like all managers will tell you, it is a results business and you’re ultimately judged on results. We knew as a management team and a squad of players that the model of bringing through and developing young players would only take them so far if we had a similar season in the 2021/22 campaign and our aim was to finish on a higher points total to the previous season. 

I gave the players the option in the summer if they wanted 2 or 3 weeks off before beginning pre season with a unanimous decision of 2 weeks. It was really pleasing to see the lads were chomping at the bit to get going again which allowed us to have a 7 week pre season which included training twice a week plus a game. We had a great pre season, being unbeaten, winning 6 and drawing 1 out of the 7 games we played. I appreciate it was pre season and some people disregard pre season games as, ‘just for fitness’ but I do feel you set the standards in pre season which takes you through the season. 

We began the 2021/22 campaign away at Capenhurst Villa, a good football club at this level and you always know you’re going to have a tough afternoon there. We lost 4-2, we were really poor and gave needless sloppy goals away. We came away from the game and reflected as a group, we knew the performance wasn’t good enough and we were miles off the pace of where we needed to be. Thankfully, in the first month of the West Cheshire season games came thick and fast and we got the chance to redeem ourselves on the bank holiday Monday away at Heswall. We gave a debut to our new right back Alex Lowe and also saw the return of injured Jonathan Pom, a Poulton Royal legend who averages a goal every 2 games for the club. At half time we were 1-0 due to great play from 17 year old Anthony Evans who tricked his way into the box to eventually being hauled down by the Heswall defender. Dan Lamara stepped up to convert. Similarly, in the second half, Anthony was at it again, driving at the defence to be brought down again in the box for penalty number 2. It was a similar result from the spot as Dan Lamara scored and we came away from Heswall with all 3 points. We went on to win 10 out of the next 11 games which springboarded us into second place with a real ambition of promotion. There is now a collective aim at the Football Club to gain promotion to a league which we feel, at a minimum, we should be in. 

Since you’ve been at the clubs you’re at, they would’ve started off with aims on and off the pitch and some changes would’ve happened since your initial involvement. Where do you see those initial ambitions being now? Have the clubs exceeded or are they close to matching what they set out to do? 

As a management team we are really fortunate to have such a good relationship with Tommy Carroll (secretary) and the committee, meeting regularly to review and discuss all matters of the club. From the first day we walked through the door there has never been any pressure on us to win a certain amount of games or be in a certain position in the league. You hear of management teams having really bad experiences at clubs due to unrealistic expectations from the committees and we are really fortunate that we have a family approach at our club. Of course, there is an expectation to compete in every game and look to gain the maximum points every time your team walks on to the pitch but there is a realistic approach at Poulton Royal. We do not have the finance to be offering players large amounts of money to play for us but we do what we can to cover expenses and ensure that the culture is that we play for the badge and not for the back pocket notes. 

I have not long turned 26 and this is my first full season in management. I am fully aware that throughout this season I have/ am going to make mistakes due to my lack of experience but I always try to ensure that I am doing more right and wrong. Having the experience of my assistant manager, Jon Christianson and 1st team coach Jonathan White, both having over 15 years experience at this level is a huge help as well as my younger cousin, Benjamin Hughes who is a brilliant person to have around the club as well as being our goalkeeping coach. 

My personal aim is to complete my UEFA B badge as well as gaining more experience as a manager and coach at Poulton Royal and Cammell Lairds and manage at the best possible level I can. I do believe that I am capable of managing in the North West Counties and beyond but fully appreciate that to be at that level I will need to continue with the degree of hard work and be successful at my current club. 

How would you say that both clubs operate, in terms of training time and the finances that they have at their disposal? What are some of the difficulties that are encountered in part time football that may not even be contemplated higher up the footballing pyramid?

We are really fortunate at Poulton Royal that we have a squad of 26 players who will always get involved in fundraising events to help the club. I believe it is important for the players to have a purpose when fundraising and can see that the money goes directly back into the club. For each of our fundraisers we ensure that there is a goal and objective for the event, whether that be to buy more training gear or going towards training costs, equipment etc. We have 3 fantastic sponsors in WV construction, Wirral Gas and the Saddle Inn who have supported the Football Club for many years and we can’t thank them enough for the sponsorships they give us. 

Of course, all football clubs would like to have a bigger finance wallet as there are always things you would like to do and would like to buy. Since my time at Royal, I have always ensured that the Football Club comes first before requesting funds and we are really astute with the things we buy. We ensure that the equipment has longevity and the culture at the club is to respect all of the equipment at our disposal. 

If people are reading this interview and didn’t know about Poulton Royal or Cammell Laird beforehand, why should they come to a game and where can they get any of the latest updates? Who are some of the names to look out for when watching either team?

Another great question, Ethan. I think if you’re at a loose end on a Saturday afternoon and you love your football then please support your local Football Clubs. The money generated by buying a coffee or a chocolate bar goes directly into the club to support them. 

I am obviously biassed to us at Royal, we are an attacking, fit side who presses from the front and score goals. As said previously, we are second in the division with a real chance of promotion, hopefully this is enough to persuade people to come down and watch us. With this interview taking place mid season, I am going to keep the names of our best players on the down low but we are a good side with fantastic young players. Similarly, Cammell Lairds are in a good run of form too, winning the last 4 league games on the spin and have stabilised them in the top 10 of their division. I am really pleased to be part of two football clubs who want to develop young players. 

Finishing our chat off, focusing on the women’s and children’s set ups at both clubs. How would you say the women’s teams are doing, if there is one, and how would children get involved with the clubs if there were ever spaces for them to join?

At Royal, we currently only have one adult mens team, the 1st team with the potential of having a reserve team in the 2022/23 season. The ambition of every Football Club is to have as many children, women and men playing and being associated with your club and we are no different. Our medium to long term plan of the club will be to add children’s, women and community sides to the club. I personally believe that when a child comes to the Football Club aged 5 that their ambition should be to want to be in the 1st team when they are an adult. That creates ambition and a sustainable model as a natural feeder from youth to adult football to the reserves and 1st team. The women’s game is growing rapidly and it is great to see so many female teams on the Wirral. As a teacher, I see first hand the work that the FA are doing to try and enhance the women’s game and I do hope it continues to grow.

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