Interview with elite coach and ex England Football Player Kieron Dyer
Kieron Dyer – Ex England International Footballer
Features and News by Nino Severino
During my sporting life, I have been lucky enough to have had many experiences, and through my activity in high level sport on a local level, these experiences continue to keep finding me. I had a very unique opportunity to interview an Ipswich Town Football Legend, this was not a standard interview, what I mean by this, is that both myself and the interviewee both work in the same environment, Ipswich Town Football Club, and we both have the same job, coaching, so this really did not feel like an official interview, but more like an informal chat between two elite coaches. The coach I had the opportunity to share this experience with, is the one and only Kieron Dyer.
Anyone who knows Kieron well, will tell you he is an extremely intelligent individual, he is considered in his views, and thinks before he talks, and is a man who has care and compassion as part of his personality and character, and this has shone through on many occasions over the years. Before I went into the interview, I carried out my research on Kieran, and I think it would surprise a lot of people to know how much this local lad who made good, reinvests in the community he originates from.
One of the first things Kieron said to me was, “I owe a lot to Ipswich”, I think it’s fair to say that he is now going about his business to repay the debt he feels he owes to the town that has given him so many opportunities in the world of sport. Kieron is a patron of the Jude Brady Foundation which was set up by the trustees and the parents of Jude Brady, Kieran pro-actively supports the foundation to raise money for research into the reason why so many babies die every day as a result of still birth. He is also a very big supporter of Fresh Start – New Beginnings, which operates through Suffolk and Norfolk, and was set up to provide a therapeutic service for children and young people up to 21 years old who have reported being sexually abused. Kieron has openly, and bravely talked publicly about his sexual abuse as a teenager, so understandably connects with the suffering of these local children and young people. He recently donated half of the proceeds from his book launch at Ipswich Town Stadium to help the Fresh Start – New Beginnings Team support the victims of sexual abuse. Another fact that surprised me was that he has used his wealth to re-invest in the football club that helped develop his outstanding talent, donating over £100,000 to the ITFC Academy, helping the club to give the best possible opportunities to our young developing players.
We started to talk about how sport saves so many young children from taking the wrong path in life, I asked him what he thought about the positive aspects of sport. He told me, without doubt, he felt that football helped him stay strong through the personal sexual abuse he suffered, he talked about this in detail, and told me that it gave him stability and a focus through a very traumatic period in his life. Kieron is a very open minded and informed individual, and we talked at length about child sexual abuse, and how the very entities that exist to protect children, are so often part of the problem. He expressed that sport, is, in so many ways a saviour for our young children, but I must admit, I never thought about sport being a rock of stability and consistency for young children going through the suffering of this type of abuse.
It’s no surprise that we eventually started talking about coaching, and how he was now using his own life experience to support players coming up the footballing pathway. It was incredible listening to him, talking about his experiences as a player, being coached by football coaching legends such as Sir Bobby Robson, and playing alongside truly world class players such as Alan Shearer. He talked about many experiences in the Premiership League, and mentioned Alan Shearer on a number of occasions, let’s be honest, I’m sure most professional players would have loved the experiences of playing alongside this English footballing legend. Kieron said “I’m very proud of what we achieved at Newcastle Football Club, we played at Premiership level, finishing in the top 4, we competed in the Champions League, and to be fair the only true World Class player in the team was Alan Shearer, it was a great experience”.
Not many ex-players can boast the experience that Kieron has had, as he talked about using his experiences to help the players under his management, he talked passionately about what he had learnt from the great Sir Bobby Robson, he said “Bobby Robson had the ability to make everyone feel special, he had the perfect balance between knowing when to banter with the boys, and when to switch to being very serious”. Kieron clearly has taken this on board and uses it within his coach delivery, I’ve seen him coach, and he has a special ability to connect with the players, and sense their emotions, this is a skill that enables gifted coaches to be very versatile in their delivery.
I asked who was the most influential coach as he was coming through the ranks, and it was absolutely no surprise to me when he said, “Bryan Klug”, who is still at Ipswich Town Academy. I just hope, the players who get the opportunity to work with Kieran appreciate the experience and knowledge that they are benefiting from every day they are on the training pitch with this ex Premiership and England International. As we continued to talk about the pathway he would need to take to develop into a senior coach, he was very humble. He said “I accept and understand where I am in the development journey, I wanted to start at the bottom of the food chain with the youngsters at the under 16 age group, and work my way up.
I was curious to know how he was managing the transition from being a top-flight football player, to now being on the delivery end of the process as a coach. He said “As a player, when I lost, I took it home with me, I took it personally, to some extent it effected the people around me, as a coach that all needs to change. You can’t be selfish; I feel a massive amount of responsibility towards all the players in the team. If the team suffers a bad result, I need to be there for them all, I now need to think about all the players in my team and how I support them, being a coach is a massive responsibility”. As he spoke, I could tell how much coaching and his role means to him, and how deadly serious he is about the journey to possibly one day coaching the first team of a professional football club.
To conclude my time with Kieron, I asked one final question, I asked if he had heard that Serena once famously said that she would never want her children to play tennis. I asked him what his views were on his children playing professional football? He said “I would totally support it, I went to watch Andre Dozzell represent England, it filled me with so much pride, and I would love for one of my children to experience this level”.
There has been so much said of Kieran Dyer, the man, the footballer, the celebrity, here is what I say. Kieran has had highs and lows, has come through some difficult professional periods, and has used his life experiences to now positively affect others.
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