Players | Managers | Clubs | Grounds | National Teams | Leagues & Cups
    The Beautiful Game


Growing Up

I was born on the 19th of March 1969 in Stoke Newington, London and grew up in Islington with my mum Michelle, and my dad, John who was a publican. The younger brother of John, a London cab driver and Lisa, a Nursery Nurse at Green Lane, I was the baby of the family.

Living in South Woodford, I soon learnt to the love my football and I took to following Arsenal - a team I still have a lot of affection for. At the time Arsenal had Liam Brady in midfield, a player who provided inspiration for me. By the age of eleven Ken Bates took my down to Watford where Graeme Taylor was making a name for himself as a young manager. I was playing for Nightingale High School and also for Redbridge District and felt I was making progress as I was then selected for Essex County and the South of England Boys. In 1984, when I was aged 13 years I signed on schoolboy terms for Watford. During these years I was playing alongside the Holdsworth brothers - David and Dean and also Tim Sherwood.

Although I didn't agree with the decision, Watford released my on the basis of my size. Yes, I was small for my age, but kids develop at different ages and being told I was too small to make the grade made me even more determined to be successful elsewhere. Leyton Orient came in for me, and I signed a two-year YTS deal. After a season in the youth team I was called in by Frank Clark the first team manager and told that my services weren't required. To be fair the club had just missed out on promotion and had invested what little cash they had in the failed bid for success, the wage bill had to cut and yours truly was sacrificed!

Next Part: Life as a Pro