Blackburn Rovers First Team Coach was given an enthusiastic welcome to the Throne of Words at Southlands High School from an excited audience keen to hear about his experience as a Premiership footballer and now First Team Coach.
Former Everton and Blackburn Rovers player, Craig Short provided students with three key points; face pressures, work hard and enjoy what you do. Craig spoke candidly about the pressures he faced when his transfer fee was a record at £2.7 million for a defender and the expectations that carried with the fans. He struggled with this pressure and faced hostility from the fans when he did not perform on a match day.
“It was difficult to deal with. Being booed by your own fans plus proving your worth to the Football Club and teammates; it was not a nice time. It made me realise that not everything in life is easy and to face those pressures. It made me a strong player.” – Craig Short
Using his own experience to dispel the assumption that you need to play for a Football Academy from a young age to be a professional footballer, Craig Short explained that this can actually be a hindrance making players prone to injury and that they should enjoy football during their schooldays before seeking to make it a profession. Rejection at an early stage can be damaging and even if a person is not ready for professional football at the age of 16, there is still time to perfect skills to enter at a later stage.
The talk from Craig Short was thought-provoking and it also provided a great insight to being a premiership footballer. The working week is usually six days and Manchester United now work seven days a week including Christmas Day. He is at work for 7am every day to discuss the training regime for the players with the manager and meet with the fitness coach. He uses GPS technology on each of the players during training to collect data on who has worked hard and to determine which players need extra training sessions in the afternoon. The day after a match is spent winding down with exercises such as yoga. Craig Short joked that he did not miss the dreaded ice bath which footballers use to calm muscles, reduce swelling and tissue breakdown.
His greatest moment? Southlands Head Teacher Mark Fowle will be disappointed to learn that Craig Shorts’ favorite moment was scoring a goal against Manchester United in the play-off final at Wembley. The best players he faced were strikers Ronaldo and Rooney. He described the moment when Blackburn Rovers played Everton and a sixteen year old Wayne Rooney took the ball through Craig Short’s legs then looked back at him with a big grin on his face. “Wayne is a very skillful player.”
Students were encouraged to continue playing and enjoying football. Craig explained that footballers are now similar to athletes as the game is very fast and it is no longer as much about strength but more about speed with the ball. His biggest regret? Not taking the opportunity to play international football. “Take every opportunity given to you” – was the final message from Craig Short.