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Loyal Pashley still has exuberance for Youth after 20 years
THIS season will be Terry Pashley’s 40th in football – an impressive milestone in isolation, but the fact he has never been out of work at any stage of his career makes it even more remarkable.
For the last 20 years, he has been a youth team coach at Burnley, passing on the wisdom he learnt himself at Turf Moor when he joined the youth ranks in the early 1970s, progressing through the system to make his debut at the tender age of 16 and turn professional.
Times have changed since then. Youth development has evolved.
But for Pashley the ethos will always remain the same.
“What Burnley did for me was they taught me values, they taught me discipline, they taught me standards, and that’s something I try to get through to the kids now.
“I still maintain they’re the standards we have to achieve with our youngsters,” said the 55-year-old, noting that although the days of sweeping stands and cleaning boots are a thing of the past for apprentices, they aren't necessarily missing out.
“As things have evolved we’d get less time with the boys on the field if they still did that,” he added.
“Primarily they want to be footballers but we’ve still got to look after their education so they do 10 hours a week in college, which obviously takes away from their time on the grass.
“When we were apprentices it did give you discipline and taught you things. We were brought up in a hard way. At some stage everybody thinks ‘I wish I could give them (the modern day apprentices) a week of what we had’. But things change and you have to evolve with things. You can’t live in the past all the time, and I don’t like to. I’d rather look forward more.”
But former left back Pashley will never forget that harsh football environment he grew up in.
“I cleaned Colin Waldron’s boots, the team captain,” he recalled.
“One morning I put them under his peg, walked out again and I thought ‘that’s great, I’ve got that done again for another morning without any incident’ and then all of a sudden I hear this ‘PASHLEY! GET BACK IN HERE!’ “I went back in. He’d put his boots on and had got some polish on his fingers because I’d got it on his laces.
“He gave me a clip round the ear for that.
“Every morning after that I scrubbed those laces.
“The next day when I put those boots in again ... I was sweating!
“But when I made my debut as a 16-year-old in the old Anglo Scottish Cup against East Fife, he was the first person to put his arm round me and welcome me into the team.
“I thought ‘Blimey! A couple of weeks ago you were clipping me round the ear’.
“I looked up to him, but he used to scare me!
“The one I really looked up to was Keith Newton because I played in the same position as him and he was an ex-England international.
“I couldn’t believe how much he used to smoke though.
“He’d come in every morning and he’d want his cup of tea making for him, he’d bring his paper and Kit-Kat, and when we had to clean the changing rooms after we were having to sweep the cigarette ends from under his peg. Just his.”
It's an eye-opening account. And there are plenty more where they came from. Pashley was, afterall, at an impressionable age having left home at just 15.
“I come from Chesterfield and played for Chesterfield boys, and Derbyshire boys and I ended up playing for England boys,” he said.
“The scout at the time saw me playing and approached my family and asked me if I could come to Burnley for trials.
“Jimmy Adamson was manager then.
“I’d been to other clubs - Everton, West Brom, Leeds - and then I came to Burnley and it was just one of those places where you felt comfortable and happy.”
The prospects for playing first team football were also alluring.
“Burnley had a very good reputation in the early 70s when I joined. There was a lot of top players who came through before me and after me,” continued Pashley, who became one of the youngest to ever play for the club when he made his debut a month before his 17th birthday.
“At the time the apprentices who went on and made it were people like Ray Hankin and Brian Flynn - the two well known ones. Before that there were people like Leighton James, Billy Ingham. That year Burnley also came out of the old Second Division, back to the old First Division as well, but if you were good enough you were going to get an opportunity.”
The Clarets boasted one of the best youth systems around when a young Pashley was making his way in the game.
Maintaining the tradition of producing homegrown talent is what he now strives for in his everyday role.
And after the number of youth team players picked to become senior professionals this year exceeded the intake of any of his previous seasons at Turf Moor, he is proud to have a significant hand in the acceleration of the club's conveyor belt.
“People say the only thing you’re guaranteed in football is the sack at some stage. To do 20 years is probably quite unusual,” said Pashley, who was forced to hang up his boots at the age of 33.
He returned to his first club to take up a role on the community football scheme the Monday after his football career was brought to a premature end through injury the Friday before, while he was on Bury's books.
“In the early days had to find my feet very quickly,” he continued.
“I soon found out that going into schools and working with youngsters who weren’t that interested in football; probably didn’t have the appetite for football or the ability wasn’t for me.
“I wanted to test myself and work with people who really wanted to be footballers.”
When Jimmy Mullen offered him the opportunity to join the club's backroom team, in the youth department, he jumped at it – and never looked back.
“I said to my wife ‘if I don’t take this opportunity I’ll probably regret it for the rest of my life’,” said Pashley.
“Burnley’s always been my club anyway. I’d been here from being a kid.
“I know I’d been at Blackpool and I still live in Blackpool and been to Bury. But 80-90 per cent of the time, Burnley’s been my life in football.”
He added: “The playing days were fantastic, and just being able to remain out on a pitch every day is the bit that I think we all love.
“It keeps you young, it keeps you motivated, just being around the youngsters all the time. It’s great, I really enjoy it.”
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