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The story of an unknown British football coach, who became a professional football coach at a professional club, from scratch. In under 4 years, Matt Ward went on to coach in the top tier leagues of Taiwan and the Philippines, League One of China and Division 1 of Ghana. Building a professional career is never easy... Neither is two days in an Asian prison or escaping an African country with no passport!This is a true insight and behind the scenes look, at what happens in the less glamorous areas of the game and when a coach, is fighting to go from Zero to Pro.
EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK
On Minimal Commitment
...Luckily the rooftop of the apartment overlooked the pitch and I was so excited to watch our next opponents. I was obsessed. It was pissing it down and the BBQ was getting wet, people were going inside or hiding under umbrellas like an ex-England manager on the sideline. I didn't care, I stood there with my wet hot dog and cheap bottle of Taiwanese beer, already playing out in my mind the players needed to win. I knew the lads were laughing at me and taking the piss, it was reasonable. Who the hell was this guy stood in the pouring rain, writing notes on a match which to most, didn't matter at all. Well, it mattered to me.
On Jail in the Philippines
...Finally some hope, the new guy was coming into the cell and he looked hard as fuck. Big lad with tattoos around his neck and face, surely he would take charge and get this little shit with the pole to calm down and wind his neck in. 'Tattoo neck' walks in and he's made to stand in the middle of the cell while the other prisoners crowded around. SMACK, the little shit-head with pole walked straight up to him and blind sided him with a right hook to the jaw. 'Tattoo neck' dropped to his knees and accepted the punch with no retaliation. I didn't understand what had just happened until later, I found out he was from a rival gang and even later on, I found out it was going to be a long night ahead with the little shit-head with the pole!
On Fun and Games in Ghana
...I should of been used to it by now but as I sat there with the sun beaming onto me, I just lost my head. A vital cup match and decisions which seemed like they was from some kind of fantasy novel with rainbows and unicorns were being made. I turned to the 4th Official who was sat to my left, "I'm bored of this shit now, you've just witnessed what I have and you're going to sit there with your eyes fucking closed cos your pockets are full of cash?" The reply was cool like ice and cutting with no flicker of emotion, "it's what you do so shut your fucking mouth white man". We was 2-0 up at the time and it should of been one of the best feelings ever, considering it was an Away match we shouldn't of been winning. My heart started to feel less about the game and less about the sport on a whole. What was the fucking point in it all?!
On Beating Big Names in China
Their patterns of play were broken down piece by piece by us, knowing that they built up from their foreign centre back and the other centre back wasn’t comfortable on the ball. So what did we do? We man marked their foreign centre back, which left the other one to receive the ball and make some fatal errors. At the final whistle, Vinyals went berserk, running on the pitch towards the ref. The gaffer went to shake his hand like a gent and the offer was refused. Vinyals kept going on and on and as I was right next to it all, I will always remember my feeling of seeing a man lose all of his dignity in defeat. It happens to us all at some point perhaps! The victories over Ciro Ferrara's Wuhan Zall and Fabio Cannavaro's Tianjin Quanjian, along with this one were probably the biggest highlights for me and my little B licence. Great satisfaction!