Development Centre


Robin attended his first Burnley FC development centre two days after the invitation. He was anxious not to be late and nervous on arrival. The training session focused on close ball skills, passing and moving into space. The games were played without goals. Robin was at the edge of the action to begin with, but soon his distinctive slight crouch and acceleration was seen as he hunted the ball. He seemed to me to do well and enjoyed it. Looking at him since – in his pyjamas in the morning, playing with his young cousin – I question how sensible it is for a six year old to be training in a professional club.


Amazon has helped me track down a series of football stories that enthralled me as a child: Michael Hardcastle’s Mark Fox series. I introduced the first book to Gabe cautiously, not sure he would want to read something that had been important to me. He was reluctant at first, but was quickly won over by the story of a young, talented player. We’ve discussed how the match descriptions are vivid and realistic and the story around the play doesn’t pander to simple morals but conveys the complex relationships with team mates, family and friends of a motivated, obsessed teenager.


Eliza has been caught talking in her sleep. “I’m the best, I’m the best”, Gabe heard her mutter while the three kids share a bedroom on our half-term holiday visit to grandparents in St Andrews.


One response to this post.

  1. […] denying there can be anything else he would want to read. Since Christmas, he has completed the Michael Hardcastle books about junior football talent Mark Fox. He is now nearly through the Narnia series, held up by […]


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