There’s not many that know the game of football better than Guy Branston.
479 professional appearances, 19 clubs and five promotions means the hard-hitting defender knows a thing or two about the game.
At 13-years-old Branston was picked from the parks pitches and given his chance at Leicester City – then of the Football League First Division.
Turning professional in 1997, a young Branston never felt out of place in any team. He’s built his career on his unrivalled physicality – you’ll never see Branston shy away from a challenge – on or off the pitch. “A lot of players were physically strong back then and I was one of them. But I was always being caught out by the experienced ones. These players would just read the game so well,” he explained.
Faced with challenges everyday on the field is a handful, but Branston has put even more on his plate as he focuses on the next generation of youth products coming through the sometimes-vicious system known as British football. We’re not talking about uncovering the next Lionel Messi, we’re talking about a problem that affects thousands of young teenagers every single year – just getting that first little break in the game. “I began acknowledging how hard it is to be seen or noticed in football even at my level when you have no help.” Guy said.
“What about the people who just want a break, a game in their local area, to play for a new team, or just a bit of notice for your lad who you think has talent? This is where this business comes in, it will help you to gain the notice you need.”
Guy is the proud founder of All About Ballerz, a platform that will get youngsters noticed and can act as a springboard into the world of professional football. Guy set up his own website and took advantage of our modern multimedia age by creating an online system showcasing the skills of individuals where they can self-upload video content of themselves which can potentially be viewed by scouts and professionals alike with the ultimate goal of getting noticed and getting that potentially-lucrative chance in football.
“The website will develop to be the central database for footballers to upload and be seen by the masses in the football industry. Players will get noticed.” Guy hopes.
The 33-year-old sees this as an ideal business to continue after his professional career comes to a close. He’s simply giving back to the game what happiness its given him over his decorated career. “When my career ends I will be straight with the players I manage. I will tell them to train hard and really give it their best in training. I will work them so that the progress in their game is seen. Then at least their is no stone left unturned,” he said.
It’s all well and good creating these opportunities for the young talent, but what about when the opportunity has been seized and one has finally made it? “Young players who have the ability should be thrown in the deep end of league football. Loan them out very early to learn the game and different styles of play.
“All of this rubbish where clubs are letting lads get to 23 with no league games is rubbish. It’s a waste of club funds and fans money waiting for lads to progress.”.
Branston’s business hasn’t been up and running for too long but it has already made a flying start and has had its first success story.
Although on a small scale, 16-year-old Harry Blundell was the first ‘baller’ to find success from the site. After uploading some videos showcasing his ability, Harry was offered a trial at Chester City and after training with them for a day, was invited back for the club to have a further look.
Four Four Two magazine have even taken notice of Guy and his venture and ran a piece about the website in their January 2013 issue.
“I was lucky enough to be in it a few times as a player but it has given me great pleasure to see All About Ballerz in the mag’. It means all the ballerz are getting even more notice.”
It would be rude to leave an interview with one of football’s ultimate journeymen without asking for a piece of valuable advice for any aspiring ‘ballerz’ out there – “Plan your career by working everyday like its your last, but enjoy it everyday in the right way.”