Friday night down under and one of the world’s greatest ever athletes Usain Bolt well and truly ignited his second career with two goals on his professional football debut. His maiden goal in particular a quite a spectacular finish dispatched from a tight angle.

Arguably the most talked about addition to Central Coast Mariners Squad since former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan was installed as Sporting Director, UCFB academic and Sensible Soccer Director Dave Horrocks caught up with Mike to discuss both the game, Usain and Central Coast Mariners progress.

So the season starts in a few days away to Brisbane Roar. In a nutshell are you ready?

Yes, The A league team is where we want it at this stage, the first game of the season is always an interesting one and there’s added spice to this one as Mike Mulvey has managed and won the league with Brisbane

You’re going into this on the back of six wins and one draw, is the Manchester United effect in full flow here?

Well Mike (Mulvey) and Nick (Montgomery) are responsible for that not me, they coach the team, I speak with them regular and we discuss all aspects especially recruitment, sports science and the integration of our youth players. We’ve got good players in with English Premier League and International experience (McCormack, Cisse, O Neil, Oar) and Mike and Nick are knitting this new squad together nicely. We have also given debuts to several youth players in the pre-season process and are protecting the short, mid and long term future of the football club.

Success takes time even at the highest level, at Manchester United it wasn’t a bed of roses in the early days and look at Pep Guardiola in his first season in England.

And who’d have thought it a certain Usain Bolt scores two goals on his debut…

Usain is a man who talks of no limits, talks of dreams and talks of achieving great things. I’m told he also once bowled Chris Gayle out in a charity cricket match in Jamaica and then later proceeded to smash him out the ground for 6. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me if he gave Phil Taylor a scare at darts and overtook Lewis Hamilton on the way home in all honesty, that’s who Usain Bolt is.

No… In all seriousness and as he’s stated himself today, he is working hard, he is improving every day and he still has weaknesses which he is clearly aware of. Today is fantastic, unbelievable, but believe you and me I’ve seen lots of footballers in my time burst on to the scene and disappear just as quickly as they arrived. Not that I’m telling you or Usain anything he doesn’t know as he’s said it today in his interview but there’s a long way to go if he’s going to be a consistent professional footballer. Great start, yes. The best possible start, but that’s what it is. A start.


Can he do it?

Is there anything this guy can’t do?

So we’re here in England at the minute, when are you due back in Australia?

Well I’ve been in England for the last few weeks discussing my initial club analysis with the owner, working on the final details of some of the transfers in and then both myself and through other staff getting around the football network and ascertaining best practice and good contacts and initiatives for the Mariners.

Anything you could elaborate on?

We’ve been out at games both myself and other people I work with, I’ve seen Premier League, I’ve seen Youth, I’m at Salford City tomorrow with Gary Neville and Chris Casper, we took in the England Under 20’s last night, I’ve met with Tony Strudwick ex Head of Science at Man United and now an integral part of Ryan Giggs Wales team and I had a day with Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this week.

Looking forward to going back?

Absolutely, you’d be surprised how far this football club has come in the last 3 months, it’s a long term project, the owner Mike Charlesworth is a good man to work with, we are also progressing financially and commercially and in all honesty there are exciting times ahead for Central Coast Mariners and I’m lucky to be a part of that.

About the author

David has recently submitted a PhD thesis on elite performance completed with players and staff from Manchester United. The thesis has two published papers to date: Manchester United and Serial Winning, and Gary Neville – A Case Study. David also has a first class degree in Sport Psychology from the University of Central Lancashire.