We all love that little gem who’s only 16, and, by the way, should definitely be in the first team, well at least in the squad. We all love the local lad, you know who I mean, a home grown talent, one of our own. One who’s progressed through our academy ranks and is keeping Johnny “only here for the money” Foreigner out of the team. We love them even more, because his dad or granddad stood (or sat) next to us on the Kop. But have you ever wondered how “Our Star” got to be where he is. (Hard work & talent, I hear you say) I mean how he’s at “our club”, he certainly didn’t just turn up, knock the door and ask “Any chance of a game mister?”
It’s all down to the forgotten men of football, the junior league SCOUTS. These guys are the lifeblood of football. These are the guys who go to around 200 games a season, so they can find that “rough diamond” amongst the pebbles. A phone call on Wednesday night while watching “Corrie” may be the starting point for “our stars” big break. (Imagine this) Sitting drinking a cup of tea, not long after you got in from watching a school cup tie 50 miles from home. Corrie’s on, & Peter Barlow is just about to deck Liz Mcdonald for giving a blue WKD to Rita Fairclough instead of the usual “stout”. (Edge of the seat stuff). The phone rings, do you answer it at such a crucial point in this gripping episode? Of course you do, & this is how the conversation goes. “Alright mate, it’s John here, I run a team in (XYZ) league. The response as always is “oh yea, hi John, how the team doing? (No idea who this guy is) I’ll have to get down there soon”. Then he hears the words every scout has heard 35 times already this week……
“Mate, I’ve just been to watch my sons school match, and I honestly, have just seen the next “Stevie G”……
So the scout has now got to go and watch this player (excellent very good, very bad, or Everton standard) because if he doesn’t, 2 things will happen, as day follows night:
1. the bloke who phoned the scout will tell the world and his dog that “this scout” doesn’t follow any advice, so don’t bother even telling him about any players. (These Johns who run XYZ are the source every scout needs to find these little gems).
2. if you don’t go, (you can bet your life he’s told every scout in his area) and if the boy is any good, he’ll be going to every club around, & the Youth Development Officer at the scouts club will be asking questions. Why hasn’t that kid come here? Who’s the scout in that area? …
So starts the journey of our “star”. The scout has found out his team, his next game & most importantly been in touch with his club secretary. Now he’s been and watched the “next big thing” & has to work fast to get him in to the club. The boys done well, we sign him and he certainly is “the next big thing”. So next time “our star/stars” step onto the hallowed turf & we’re all singing his praises, remember the man who gave up a little more than Corrie on that wet and miserable Wednesday night. “The Scout” because he’s out there in the rain, wind, snow, hail and any other weather conditions known to man. Yes he’s out there, sourcing the next big thing for our club, to take over from “this super star”.
Please also remember these guys do this for the love of the club, most for no more than expenses. Yes expenses for travel, a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate & a burger/hotdog. So when you see that “Stevie G” playing in the park, while walking your dog/kids/wife. Get the phone out. He’s definitely expecting your call.
A quick word about our scout. He’ll attend around 200 junior games this season, (if he’s been doing it a while & any good) he’ll also attend around 50 senior games. 250 games a season. A scout for a premier league club could expect to watch around 900 junior games before he sees a “star” he spotted, (if he’s lucky) stepping out into first team football….