Sean Barnes dreamed of becoming a Premier League manager and so signed up for an FA coaching course. But his new career path has reached a hurdle and it's not due to lack of time or inclination

Last summer I went through a personal crisis and bought an unnecessarily large television, a train ticket from the 1930s, searched everywhere for a white leather jacket and resolved to learn to play the harmonica.

In southern Spain, former England manager Glenn Hoddle is rebuilding the careers of young players. Steve Wilson reports

It would be understandable for the players of Notts County to be pinching themselves at the thought of pre-season under the guidance of Sven-Göran Eriksson. The chance to work with a former England manager, despite career paths that appeared to have closed off such a possibility, might appear unique to them. Elsewhere, however, the same, equally unexpected opportunity has befallen another set of hopefuls. At least four of whom would give glowing reports as to the redemptive qualities such an experience brings.

Given the record of British coaches in developing players in the UK, is it a good idea that they are doing well in the burgeoning and highly profitable US soccer market? Mike Woitalla doesn’t think so

One of the myriad American youth soccer programmes declares it uses “soccer as a tool to teach kids about life”. Classes are open to children from 18 months old and, by the time a child is three, the Lil’ Kickers coaches will be teaching them “concepts of co-operation and teamwork”. So now, even for the youngest, it’s not just a game. If it were and kids were simply given a place to kick around in the manner that has created the world’s best players, could Lil’ Kickers promise the indoor arenas that host their classes an annual income boost of £125,000?

Ever wondered how someone on £100,000 a week can have a “wrong” foot? Tom Green investigates the case for everything being all right with the left, as well as with the other one...

In an age of ProZone and FIFA coaching badges, one significant aspect of football technique appears to be overlooked: for some reason, right up to the very highest level, it seems acceptable to be one-footed.

Trevor Brooking is an unlikely evangelical but, as Barney Ronay reports, the mild-mannered one has come down off his fence with a vengeance in a bid to improve the basic football skills of children

“When it comes to skill levels, we are lagging behind the other major European countries… Unless this culture is changed, we will continue to slip behind.” So said Trevor Brooking last month, in one of his frequent and always deeply pessimistic dispatches from Soho Square. In case you haven’t noticed, this isn’t the same cheery old sit-on-the-fence Trevor you might have become used to from his “to be fair the ball took a bit of a bobble” appearances on Match of the Day. Two years in charge of the FA’s youth programme have taken their toll, transforming Brooking, the director of football development, into the game’s Cassandra, repeatedly mongering the imminent doom of our national sport.

In his home town of Burton Mark Rowe discovers the FA's latest "white elephant"

My home town of Burton upon Trent has few claims to fame. It once had two teams in the League. I was at junior school with the younger sister of Garry Stanley, who played for Chelsea. Last season Burton Albion took Manchester United to an FA Cup third-round replay. You can still see the commemorative scarves at the Pirelli Stadium, no doubt complying with all intellectual property laws, half in United ­colours, half in Burton’s yellow and black.

French players and managers are already all the rage in England. Now they are exporting their behind-the-scenes coaches as well. Ben Lyttleton reports

July 14, 1998, was one of Francisco Filho’s most mem­­orable days in his 28 years at the Institut Nat­ional du Football, based at Clairefontaine. “It was two days after France had won the World Cup,” Man­chester United’s new Under-17 coach said. “Gérard Houllier told us he was leaving for Liverpool and Aimé Jacquet’s first words were: “We need to further im­prove our training.” He didn’t even mention what had happened two days earlier. I was taken aback, but that’s an ex­ample which illustrates the success of French training methods.”

If Howard Wilkinson has his way, professional coaches in England will eventually have to obtain an official qualification. Bernd Huck explains how the system works in Germany

Karlheinz Riedle never wanted to be a coach. But when Mohamed Al-Fayed sacked Paul Bracewell and asked Riedle to take charge at Craven Cottage, he agreed to do the Fulham owner a favour. “But only for a short time, because I’m really not the coaching type.”

Stephen Wagg describes how British clubs are beginning to overcome their traditional hostility to the appliance of science

The current denigration of Glenn Hoddle is as  predecessors Robson and Taylor, but, quite by accident, it has thrown up a matter of some interest: football’s relationship to science. Hoddle has, on the one hand, been persistently criticised for employing a “faith healer”, yet, on the other, for allowing his players to be given Creatine, an ameno acidic powder thought to aid short, high energy movement and delay fatigue.

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