As if pre-season wasn’t busy enough for The Shots squad, Chris Barker has also continued his coaching education by starting work with the Aldershot Town Academy.
Already the holder of the UEFA B Licence coaching certificate, Barker is now embarking upon his A Licence, to formalise and augment the experience he has gained from a career of over 600 games.
“I haven’t been in a classroom for 16 years,” he laughs, “it’s a learning experience for me but I’m enjoying it. I’ve got a lot to learn!
“As you get older, you realise that you’ve got to do something else, and I want to pass something back to help these young lads achieve their career. But I look at the 17 and 18 year-olds here now and they are well ahead of me (from when I was a teenager), to train every day and have proper coaches – sometimes I only had it once a week.”
Things have, of course, changed a lot since Barker was in their position with Maltby Main and Alfreton Town youth teams. “When I started in 1998, pre-season was running around a field for two weeks, but now you have to look after the players on and off the pitch,” he admits, and recognises the value of producing homegrown players for lower league clubs.
“That is the future of the club – if we can get one or two players per year through the system it saves the club a lot of money. It gives the lads an opportunity to get into the first-team and secures the future of the football club itself.”