Meet Phil Smith our U9 Oranges coach!

Profession: Public Relations consultant

Position held for the club: Coach

Length of time in position: Since September 2017

What do you enjoy most / least about the role you play for the club? 
As a coach, I most enjoy having the opportunity to work with a great group of children and watching them implement in training or in games the things we are trying to teach them (and also being supported by a fantastic group of parents). It isn't all about winning, as we know, and I personally enjoy games where we have really put up a fight and the team have given everything! It is both exciting, and rewarding, to be part of the club and I love match days. There is nothing I don't enjoy per se.

Coaching qualification: FA Level 1 

Why did you join Thurlby Tigers FC?
My son has been with the Academy since the age of five. I knew the club were looking for coaches to take the team forward and, together with another Dad, I stepped forward to help. It has probably been one of the best decisions I've made in my life.

What is your favourite Tigers memory?
As a Dad, it would be my son's first goal for Thurlby at the 2019 Deeping summer tournament. He had done really well all season but the one thing that was missing was a goal. Then, out of nowhere - and from a long way out - he fired in a last-minute goal to help us win 1-0. It was a really proud moment and he has certainly developed massively during this current season too.

What professional team do you support?
Sheffield Wednesday, since 1986. I've seen it all!

Who did/do you play football for?
Bourne Head Rangers (as they were) from Under 10s to Under 16s. I also played for my school and university teams. 

Biggest game you've ever played in or coached?
When I was 10 I played in a competition called the Pell Cup. The final was played at the Sir Halley Stewart playing field, home of Spalding United. We played 11-a-side, on a full size pitch, and I can remember the pitch being bone dry. That did work out, though, because I lobbed the goalkeeper (after the ball bobbled up!) and we won 1-0. We got the climb the 'famous steps' at Spalding, and lifted our first trophy.

Coaching or playing? And why?
I enjoyed playing - and the people I grew up playing football with have been friends for life - but I stopped playing competitively at a relatively young age (in my twenties). I do regret that in some ways, because now I am coaching I find I want to play myself. I'm probably a better coach than player.

Who is/was your footballing hero? 
David Hirst - if you haven't heard of him, watch his goals on Youtube!

What three things would you take on a desert island and why?
Tough question - tempted to say my mobile phone and Ipad because they are perceived as so important in the modern day, but I think I could live quite happily without these. I'm going to say my running gear, gardening stuff (there must be some work needed on a desert island!) and collection of football autobiographies, all of which help me to relax.