My passion: A lifelong fan, nothing can beat the beauty of football

Barry Simmons: I just loved playing football and was always part of a team through school.
Barry Simmons: I just loved playing football and was always part of a team through school.
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Going to see my first professional football match had a massive impact on me. I was brought up near Warrington and my Dad was a big Blackpool fan, but it was my uncle who took me to see Manchester City at the age of seven.

I just loved playing football and was always part of a team right through school.

My biggest achievement was being invited to play for St Helen’s schoolboys. It was my last year at school and there were lads from right across the area so it was a great opportunity.

Moving to Yorkshire, I took a PE degree with business management at Trinity and All Saints, Leeds University and got into football coaching after studying for my FA preliminary badge.

I went on to take a PGCE and spent three years as a primary teacher and PE coordinator at a school in Merseyside – they didn’t have their own team so I set one up.

It was only when I snapped my cruciate ligament at the age of 28 that I had to give it a rest for a while.

I had my knee rebuilt using part of my hamstring to repair the ligament. I seem to remember it was pretty painful at the time! Now I support my son, Matthew, who plays for Dinnington Town Under 13s in Rotherham borough.

Last year they were invited to play at a tournament in Padua in Italy.

The mayor came out to welcome them and they played the national anthem. There were about 14 teams and ours was the only non-Italian side.

Matthew scored his first goal there, so it was really important for him.

When his club sent me on a level one goalkeeping course, I was happy to get involved and now I’m assistant manager and goalkeeping coach.

I think basically I’m quite competitive and football is something I have a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm for.

Sometimes it’s difficult to balance needs of all the players and maintain a competitive team, but the fact that I’ve been a teacher before helps me to manage the kids.

My love for the beautiful game has never waned and, now that we’re both Manchester City season ticket holders, Matthew and I never miss a match.