I was born into a family, me, my mother, my nan and my sister. We lived in a 2 bedroom council house, I was the only male in the family as my father was absent. I was exposed to domestic violence from a really early age, my mother was in some rough relationships. The electricity used to cut off and the candles came on. We couldn't afford much as my nan worked 2 jobs to provide meals on the table for me and my sister.
When I was around 9 years young I was playing football in the street one day when a man in a silver ford Mondeo drove by stopped and rolled down his window to speak to me. He said to me "son, I drive past here each night after work and I always see you playing football by yourself, rain or shine, do you play for a football team?" I said, "no." He said, "go and get your guardian for me". I went inside and got both my mother and nan. The man said to them "I would like to invite your son for football trials, to play organised sport". My mother's first response was "we cant afford it and we don't drive but thank you very much for the offer and began to walk away."
The man said "I tell you what, meet me here this time next week". "Not only will I pick him up each week, I will cover his costs too". The man stuck to his word and I went on trial the very next week at Mansfield Town F.C and I spend the next 11 years of my life there, making my professional debut at 17.
At 27, in 2015 my mother fell victim to Mental Health. It came at a time where I was making history on the football pitch, however off the pitch I was going through a secret storm.
I came out publicly on a BBC Radio Lincolnshire breakfast show one morning in 2017, opening up about my own personal battles with Mental Health.
Many people wrote me after that breakfast show and reached out that they too were suffering. Instinctively I had to do something, so I decided to throw an event together and invite those people who had took the courage to reach out.
I managed to cast my net and pull in around 60 people within 4 days. Little did i know that this event thrown together off the cuff, would lead me into a life of giving service as a speaker and coach.
Through word of mouth, the opportunities opened up. I gathered some momentum and called time on my full-time playing career to create more space in my life to commit to helping others.
Life is to be lived forwards but understood backwards.
My mission is to make people feel seen and heard.