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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Clucas Writes Foreword For 'No Final Whistle'

Clucas's teammates congratulate him on his goal against Cambridge in February 2013. Pic: BN.
Former Hereford United midfielder Sam Clucas has penned the foreword for a new book 'No Final Whistle' written by a former team-mate Seth Burkett.

The book is the fictional account of a young player called Alfie Bennett who bounces back from rejection of his own.

Alfie Bennett is going to be a superstar. He is absolutely sure of it. Every second of his life is dedicated to football. And when he gets signed up by the famous Borough Academy, it looks as if he's well and truly on the way to achieving his dream. Yet life at Borough isn't all that it seems.

In his foreword Clucas says he felt rejected when he was released by Leicester as a teenager. 

'When Leicester released me at the age of 16, it felt like my world had ended. After being there for six years, Leicester City was all I knew. I had been sure that I was going to make it into their first team.

Being released made me feel like I had let a lot of people down. Those around me had made plenty of sacrifices over the years: taking time off work to get me to matches, driving me to training sessions, buying me boots, watching me play. It hadn't been easy or cheap for them. And it had all been for nothing. But I didn't let that stop me.

I used that setback as motivation. I wanted to prove wrong all the people who said that I was too small to be a footballer. I wanted to prove wrong all the people telling me to give up on my dream.

Most importantly, I wanted to succeed for my parents and those who had supported me. I owed it to them and I also owed it to myself after all the sacrifices that had been made to become a professional footballer.

I signed for a local team called Nettleham. Soon enough I was called up to represent my county, Lincolnshire. That's where I met the author of this book, Seth. While I'd been released by Leicester, he'd been released by Peterborough United. We played down the left hand side; him at left back and myself at left wing.

From there, he signed a professional contract in Brazil and went on to write a few books, including the one you're about to read.

I signed for Lincoln City, then Jerez Industrial, Hereford, Mansfield and Chesterfield. I was moving up through the leagues.

Then, finally, I reached the top. I got promoted to the Premier League with Hull and won Player of the Year. When Hull were relegated, I returned to the Premier League by signing for Swansea

If I could say anything to an aspiring footballer it would be to enjoy every second of playing. The percentage of young players who make it professional is very small, so you should have as much fun as you can when on the pitch.

If you always listen to your coaches and teachers and keep trying to improve, though, then you never know what can happen. Even now I'm still improving my own game. Learning never stops.

If you enjoy playing and keep on learning and trying to improve then anything is possible. It's what No Final Whistle is all about. It's what my career has been all about. And it's what I've proved with my journey to the Premier League.

Anything is possible.'