I was born in 1962 to the worlds best Mum and every little boys dream Dad, he was a professional rugby league player! He was, however, a frustrated soccer player and an Everton fanatic so my upbringing was not at the Warrington Wires (now Wolves) but at Goodison Park, home of the Toffee Men, Everton.
I mention the above as it may explain the DNA that was behind the day I received some of the best advice of my life. Advice that changed everything and ultimately led to me holding this pen and not a trowel!
Fast forward to 1979, I am 17 years old and stood up to my ankles in mud in the pouring rain, I look like a dog left out in a storm for a week! I am a decent rugby player and I am Captain of my schools first XV, so yes I play rugby union, the softy game as it was considered in my home town!
So am I playing rugby? No, it’s that DNA thing, I am actually on a soccer training pitch next to Boundary Park, home of Oldham Athletic! I am invited to play for their youth team, so they can take a look at me I am soaked, depressed and at left back! As a right footed winger, this is not a good start.
A call goes up and I awaken from a snooze, a black lad hurtles towards me in the rain and as if on a sunny beach in Brazil lifts the ball over my head and runs around me, there is only one thing to do, clatter him, it’s a Lancastrian term for cease his forward motion.
The ensuing penalty and various Anglo-Saxton terms hurled my way convince me that a soccer future at Oldham is unlikely!
A few months later, after a similarly unproductive day at Bristol City, albeit warm and sunny, I get that piece of advice that will change all things in my life!
My Dad sits me down and he’s quick and to the point Do you want to go to University and study law, or do you want to play in the 3rd or 4rh Divisions (that is by the way 1 or 2 divisions below Oldham and Bristol City!) because if you do that will be lucky to earn the same as a plasterer and that son is a fact!
Now there was no money at all in rugby union in 1979, so that was it and mentally I hung my boots up for good.
One word, well sentence really, from a man I respected and loved and it was all changed and to be honest it felt great, I knew it was right and I was being protected!
That is how I want to approach every single piece of advice I give my clients for the rest of my life! I need to know exactly what their circumstances are, what their dreams are, because even at 85 we still have dreams, and I want to help them achieve those dreams and goals!
If I can save you 2% per annum in costs, give you more transparency and deliver better service I have done my job and I can be proud of who I have become in life!
Fast forward, it’s 2008 ad I am stood on a rugby pitch in mud up to my ankles and a young man is playing for his school in front of me, my son. I hope that when my moment comes in any aspect of his or his brothers life I can be as brave, clear and honest as my father was with me, because as Rudyard said, then you are a man my son!