F is for Football

Dated: 30 April 2019

The last (but by no means least) of our Jack Petchey Foundation award winners this term is the enigmatically titled - F - player/manager of our season winning first XI football team.
F came to Woodhouse in September 2017 from Bishop Stopford's School and was captain of our team last year. When our football coach (staff member Nathan) left mid-season this year, F took on the role and saw the team continue to go from strength to strength, culminating in winning the Barnet U18s Schools league just a few weeks ago, beating rivals Ashmole Academy 4-2 in a thrilling final played out on our own 3G pitch.
“It was overwhelming to get a Jack Petchey award and I certainly didn’t expect it. I just see football as something I’m doing for fun but I’m quite passionate about it and I love the team. Last year we were disappointed - we were knocked out in the semi finals and we really wanted to win something this year. The team are basically like friends which has mostly made my job (manager) easy. But I must be clear that I consider this award is for the team not just myself, because it is obviously a team effort.
When our coach Nathan left I felt it was natural for the captain to take charge so I stepped up, but the role has opened my eyes a bit. When you watch football on TV you don’t normally see the link between how the team play on the pitch and what the manager does. I use to see it that if the players are good, then they will play well, but there’s so much more to it and now I realise there’s a lot of decision making behind that.
Football is not just about ability but also confidence and making sure everyone is happy in the team and making sure that they are playing in the right positions. Some of the lads had interviews for university during the season and couldn’t play in certain games, so we have to adjust to fit everybody. Managing was a bit crazy at times and not something that I am used to but I did enjoy it. Although it was quite sad to make tough decisions like when the squad was over 20 and we had to trim it to 16, but it had to be done and all for a good cause in the end. Some people were calling me Mourinho (after ex-Manchester United coach José Mourinho). I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but he did win trophies.
I’ve played football since I was very small. I played in weekend league teams until I was about 12 years old but stopped at secondary school and started just playing for the schools league. Four of my old school team lads came to Woodhouse too, so we already had a good connection on the pitch, where I play in an attacking midfielder role.
Barnet Schools U18’s Cup is a league of around 10 teams. Earlier in the season we had played Ashmole and thrashed them 8 -0. We then played Compton and we lost to them 4-2 . Ashmole then beat Compton 4-1 in the semi finals so we were thinking ‘how come we beat them so easily but lost at Compton and they beat them so easily?’ - so we were uncertain going into the final. We weren’t complacent and we were ready to give it a really good fight. It was a big game for all of us - most of us hadn’t won a trophy before - but we went in with confidence. It was genuinely a team effort - and I can honestly say it’s the best team I’ve ever played on, especially in the final. It’s hard to describe but when you are given such a responsibility (of managing) and then you actually fulfil what you all want to do - nothing can beat the feeling.
I don’t really play outside of college as I don’t have time with my studies. Some people have asked if I’ve ever thought about trying out for trials at some proper clubs but I know it’s tough. I hope to play at university and see what happens from there. I’m studying politics, economics and history and I’ve applied to study Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management at Loughborough University and will probably go on to work in that field.
I definitely enjoy life at Woodhouse. People say there’s a big difference here from secondary school and it probably is for most, but I think being at Woodhouse has genuinely changed me as a person. You learn so many new things and come across such a different set of people culturally. Normally I don’t really socialise with people I don’t know but at Woodhouse you can’t avoid it and it’s a beautiful community. Before coming here, I didn’t think I would care about leaving, but it has been a great moment in my life and I do enjoy and love this college very much.”
Congratulations again to F and the team for a great win. He plans to spend the Jack Petchey Foundation Award money on a slap-up meal at Nando's for the whole football squad.
And also, thanks to ex-coach Nathan who put a lot of effort into the team, and to Morgan Hunt who sponsored our kits this year.

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