17th October 2014
With the final box being ticked by the English FA yesterday, the completion of the transfer of Liam Coogans to Huddersfield was rubberstamped.
Liam was one of five young players taken on full time on a Modern Apprenticeship sponsored by Rainbow Room International Ltd, training with Edusport Academy 4 mornings, and college on Wednesdays.
In their own profession, RRI are leading lights in training possibilities and they were keen to get involved with the Club to further the training and education of young players and the success of Liam Coogans alone just shows what can be achieved by such sponsorship at this level.
Ann Marie and Liam had a catch up last night discussing his move and the impact and changes on both him and his family.
AM: What are the changes you have noticed most since you moved away?
LC: Living away from the family is difficult. I was used to going home from training/playing and talking nonstop about what happened at the game etc. Now I am living in a flat which I share with another player so I have to rely on phone calls and emails.
AM: How are you coping looking after yourself?
LC: To be fair we are looked after by a family who live in the same place and they cook for us and look after us.
AM: And how are you dealing with the big changes that a move to a Championship club brings?
LC: It was a shock at first when I came down. It is a full time job in as much as your time in planned out so that you cover everything. We train in line with most other teams and then we have time in the gym and the pool as additional things. We have a sports scientist and what is effectively a personal trainer. He makes out a list of all the things you need to do in the gym. He then watches as you do it. There are no hiding places! It is good though as he works out which parts of your body are weaker that the others and gives you the exercises to target that. When I first came down my body ached all over because I was not used to it, but I think I am getting more used to it now.
AM: We have been keeping an eye on you and you seem to be playing with different teams within the Club...
LC: Yes, I have been really lucky and training with the 18s and 21s. Even a few times with the first team. That is where you realise the importance of the body strength that you work on in the gym. I am quite lucky with my speed and can get away from defenders. However if you are playing with the 21s, the defender could be 3 years older and 3 stone heaver. There is no point in having the speed to get away unless you have the body strength to take the pass and hold the defender off.
AM: I can remember your first appearance with the Reserves at Annan. 2 nil down at half time and you got 4 goals in the second half. I was working up north and Ceefax (Neil Johnston) was texting back the goals and each time the phone beeped I thought "Surely not again!"
LC: I know it was a really amazing night. The second half went by so quickly and everything I did went right that night. The journey home was really quick too - it is always shorter when you win!!
AM: Yes but I think your journeys are different now. Not quite the same as the Airdrie Minibus!
LC: We have a fantastic bus that we use for games. We have 2 seats each and we have headphones for our music and we have Sky TV too. I think Jamie Bain would be jealous of that.
AM: What are your lasting memories of your time at Airdrie?
LC: Obviously getting the call telling me that the Club wanted to offer me a full time contract - thanks to the Rainbow Room - was unbelievable, and I don’t think I would have progressed as quickly if that had not happened. I had a really great time at Airdrie. I was really young when I was put in the first team but Jimmy (Boyle) and Stevie (Findlay) had faith in me that I could cope. When Gary Bollan came in I was a bit worried as he knew nothing about me, but thankfully he believes if you are good enough you are old enough and you can see that by all the young players getting chances. People have always believed in me which is great. My family took me to training and games (they must have so much time spare now!) and then Airdrie and everyone there believed in me too.That belief is why I am where I am now and I want to make everyone even prouder.
I get back home as often as I can and get to games too. I will be 18 at the end of the month so hopefully I will get my driving licence soon too.
I just want to wish everyone at Airdrie all the best for the future, from the fans to the players and management.
“Onwards and upwards” as someone once said!