From Morecambe's hot prospect to England's Hero...
Football was always a major part of my life, from a very early age I saw my beloved Manchester City with my father. I grew up in the Lancaster area, and as a youngster I played for Lancaster City untill Morecambe noticed my potential and snapped me up at 15. I spent the next two years in the youth team, scoring goals with ease and making a name for myself. I began to feel I could make something as a footballer, and as I scored another goal the dream got stronger.
Shortly after my 17th birthday in 2005 I got a call from the club asking for me to come to the ground to discuss a full time contract. The fallowing day I made the short walk from my house to the ground it half the time it usually takes me. I signed before I had arrived. The manager told me his aims, which was for the club to push for promotion out of the conference, and to build a strong league side and he believed I could be a part of it. He felt I had the potential to grow into a good attacker, I would train with the first team, travel to the games, and in time I would become more and more involved.
The contract was 5 years long, I would be paid £420 a week, a massive wage considering I was still at 6th form studying my A-levels, I would also recieve a £165 goal bonus and £210 assist bonus.
I enjoyed training with the team and they got off to a good start, I spent almost all my time on the training ground, knowing that it would be hard for me in the conference at first, as I would be playing against fully grown men so Iw ould have to work on strength and also pace. Stamina was also a problem as I wasn't used to the pace of the game, but in time I began to control these phyisical difficulties. After 6 games we laid mid table with ten points. After training the manager called me over on the friday night and told me due to injury problems and a lack of goals I would be starting in the away game at Rushden. The game was a poor one, we were 1-0 down early on in the game, and nothing went our way, I was often muscled off the ball, and battered to the ground by a constant flow of slide tackles into my direction. The frustration got to me, and I returned a hard tackle to one of the defenders and earned myself a yellow card. The manager told me to keep my cool, and not to get too worked up, to jsut try my best, so that is what I always did. I had a big place in my heart for Morecambe, being one of my local teams. I played my second game in October at home to Aldershot the game saw the team find it's form, early in the first half I got my first goal running onto a through ball, passing two defenders and thumping the ball hard into the back of the net from jsut inside the area. My second goal came from a header just into the second half, after a great run down the wing from Carlton. The game ended 2-1 to us, I also got the man of the match award. I also started the next game at Stafford but in the opening 20 mins was injured by a very dirty playing side who went on to beat us 3-1, I didn't feature again untill the mid December being careful not to rush back from injury.
By New Years Eve we were sitting 9th and I had made 6 apperences scoring 4 goals. Rumor had it that several league clubs had scouts watching me when I played. On New Years day mid afternoon, the boss rang me, I was surprised for him to be calling, he told us all to relax and spend time with family like we should. He was very honest with me, he told me several offers had come through, some were far too good to turn, so he had no option to accept, and he told me the clubs wanted to open contract negotiations, he said he didn't expect me to be a Morecambe player at the end of the month and he understood why, he knew I'd be able to grow and prosper at a league club far better.
I turned down two offers that day, one from Cardiff and the other from Leicester, my father acted as my agent and found out what they were offering, but my heart was with Morecambe... a very hard decision laid ahead for me.
My final game for Morecambe came the fallowing week against Altrincham, we won 2-0 and I grabbed an assist. I knew I had to move, not only for my own good, but for Morecambe, the money being offered for me they could put to excellent use. I did a final interview with the local papers expressing this, and said my goodbyes.
I looked through all the offers and decided on Burnley, another Lancashire club close to my heart, this was because my father lived close to them after my mother left him. I took an interest in the 'local' clubs to me, although my true love was Manchester City...
'The groin's been a little sore but after the semi-final I put it to the back of my head.' - Michael Hughes