I watched a documentary on the BBC recently, featuring Salford City FC, and there were some goal achievement classics that shouted at me from the screen...
Salford City. A non league team, *way* beneath the league as it happens, a good few tiers further down the football pyramid. The documentary covered what happened when the club was bought by 5 ex-players, 5 players who had reached the very top of the game during long careers together at Manchester United, with all of them playing internationally.
I found it fascinating, and the first goal achievement nugget I noticed was their attitude. They had attitudes about work ethic, commitment and expectation of success which reflects them being at the very top of the tree. They expected others to have the same attitude, and it rubs off.
The second goal achievement point I noticed came when I watched them play. Not in the documentary itself, but the following night as they played a 1st round FA Cup tie, live on the BBC.
They were playing Notts County, a team 3 leagues above them. It was 2 names on the Notts County team sheet that caught my eye - Alan Smith and Roy Carroll. Both of them had played at the highest level, in fact both of them won medals at Manchester United playing with the new owners of Salford!
Both of them also played internationally, and I for one remember a horror injury that Alan Smith suffered in his career - one of those where parts of his leg are pointing in the wrong direction - ouch!
Smith and Carroll are at the later stages of their careers and, as happens with a lot of players who've been at the top, they find themselves plying their trade further down the leagues - either because they want to carry on playing, or for the money!
The career path for the professional footballer is a long, windy one, and apart from the minority that make it to the top, it's a precarious one. Injury can end a career in an instant, and there is no guarantee of success.
This can be seen by taking a look at the Salford line up...
In goal, J Lynch, who got as far as sitting on the subs bench 3 times for Bolton in the Premier League. Then there's one of Salford's goal scorers, Danny Webber. He was in the same youth system that the 5 new owners were in, but whereas they went onwards and upwards to the top of the game, he didn't.
That's the way it goes, in professional sport, and in life. The route to the top won't open up for everyone, but it sure as anything won't open up for anyone that doesn't try, that doesn't put in the effort. Lynch and Webber are still playing, for a club 6 divisions below the Premier League, and they are still putting in the effort, still taking action with commitment.
It impressed me, which is why I felt it needed to be my next article. I hope you like the ideas as much as me.
As a nice little round up, Webber scored an absolute cracker of a goal, worthy of being on live TV indeed, as Salford won 2-0. What's the betting they win their next tie, and draw a Premier League team in the 3rd round - Salford City v. Manchester United, anyone?
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