My mum and Dad still live in Cramlington, my dad, David is a Safety Advisor
and my mum, Katherine teaches at Cramlington First School. I've also got a twin
brother, Steven, who was also a player and we both had a few trials together.
He was actually offered a Pro contract at Hearts and they only offered me YT
terms! He was working for Orange at North Tyneside but is now with Northern
Electric down in Leeds. I've also got two older sisters, Sarah's a year older
than me and lives in Sheffield where she went to University. Vicky's my eldest
sister, three years older than me, she manages a hotel down in Leeds.
I went to school in Cramlington, starting at Cramlington First School, then to Southlands Middle, and finishing at St.Benet Biscop High School in Bedlington. I still keep in touch with a lot of my friends from those days - Tony Clark, Graham Redpath, Craig Banks, Alistair Dewer.
I played for Cramlington Juniors as a kid, it's a good set up there and a quite
a few lads have gone on to sign pro… I played with Martin Taylor - who's now
at Blackburn. Andy Sinton and Graham Fenton are also Cramlington old boys and
I know Graham's parent (who's parents I know well).
As a kid I didn't have any particular interest or hobbies outside of football. All I could think of was playing, and having a twin brother to knock a ball about with was great.
As I got older I played for Northumberland Boys and also the Catholics of Great
Britain, we played in the Catholics Olympics - international football! At 14
I signed schoolboy forms with Newcastle - who've always been my team. In the
picture you can see my brother and I in our Newcastle away kits from the 1983/84
season. Kevin Keegan got us promoted that year, so it was fantastic for me that
when I signed for Newcastle, he was the manager. I used to play Centre Forward,
it was John Carver who turned me in a midfielder.
A few clubs were interested in me and I had trials with Man City, Hearts, Everton,
and Leeds. I went down to Leeds with my brother, and got homesick. He stayed
and had his trial and went home, I think I was about 15 at the time. It's funny
that I've now got my brother and sisters living in Yorkshire and I'm the only
one left up here.
Next Part: Life as a Pro