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Back to a footballing weekend. James (name changed) had a match Saturday morning in Maidstone which meant an early start for the 45 minute journey. So we were up at 7 and ready to go after a light breakfast and a cuppa.

We hit the road and, fortunately, the traffic was light as nobody else was stupid enough to be up that early on a Saturday. I reminded James that when he was rich and famous he should remember all these early starts. We arrived at the ground and chatted to the other parents and players that had already arrived. The boys went in to get changed and we went into the club house where tea and bacon rolls were on offer. So I had two and a nice strong tea.

We went and sat in the stand and the first thing we noticed was the artificial pitch. Fortunately the lads had been warned and all had brought the appropriate footwear. I’m not a great fan of astro turf and I personally know two ex professional players who careers were pretty much ended by playing on it. If you have joint issues then playing on a firm surface, all year round, will only make that worse. The match was pretty straight forward with the boys 3-0 up at half time. Half way into the second half and the score had increased to 5-0 with James scoring 2.

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The coach decided to bring some subs on and James was one of the lads substituted. He and the other lads got a good round of applause and I waved goodbye to a tenner. After the game I was waiting in the club house for James. I noticed a guy talking to him, another lad and the coach. The coach came in and asked me and the other lads Dad, to join them for a chat.

The chap introduced himself as a scout for a professional team in London and he showed us a pass which basically stated that. He wanted to know if James, and the other boy, would be interested in visiting their training ground and joining in with a training session with their academy. Obviously both the boys said yes and so did I and the other Dad. He took our phone numbers and said that he would be in touch. We said our goodbyes and the guy left. I said to the other Dad that we could all go over together and that we would chat once a date had been agreed.

As you can Imagine James didn’t shut up all the way home! He called Paige straight away and we also discussed the players that played for the club. We stopped for some brunch and James was still very hyper. Would he need new boots? Should he get his hair cut? What would he wear? It was endless and quite amusing. We got home and James had a bath. It was then the doubts set in. Am I fit enough? Am I good enough? What if the other boys laughed at him?

I told him he would be fine and that we would sort everything out once we had received a date from the scout. I suggested he didn’t tell all his school mates in case there was some jealousy. So we had a very excited young man who was very excited about the future.

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