‘I first consulted Steve in 2010 at the age of 50 as a result of a wish primarily to continue playing five aside football (and, in particular, to carry on scoring goals as a shameless goal poacher!) for maybe another two or three years, an activity which I started in October 1986 at the age of 26 on a Monday night at Bells Sports Centre.

From the outset Steve developed a programme specifically designed to both improve my fitness and to help me to avoid injury.

I had been very lucky to only have missed about two weeks of football due to injury prior to meeting Steve but was aware that getting older, various niggles would undoubtedly start to kick in. I had seen all too often over the period that I had played, a colleague going out for a week with a particular injury, returning, then going out after a few weeks for a longer period and so on until eventually they had no alternative but to retire.

Over the last 6 years Steve adjusted my programme as required when I had various niggles and minor injuries, the worst being a hamstring tear that kept me out for three weeks. Apart from that hamstring tear, to my own surprise, I have not missed a single game through injury since commencing with him. Whenever there was a niggle or minor injury it was always reassuring to go to Steve who always seem to know an exercise to overcome the problem and prevent it happening again.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn last year that I have a resting heart rate 52 and that being a bit (!) overweight does not necessarily mean that you’re not fit!

I was also very proud in October 2015 to reach my personal, now adjusted goal ( due in no small part to Steve’s enthusiasm, skill and encouragement!)  of 30 years of playing fives and, to my own surprise, perhaps even more than my teammates, I’m still turning up as at May 2016 and, whilst my skills have not improved any, my fitness levels remain sufficient to keep me running to the end of the game and scoring the odd goal, sometimes in contrast to a few of my younger colleagues who often start to flag in the last 15 minutes!

I’ve also seen, sadly, younger players have to finish playing at a ridiculously early age perhaps due to not having the advantage of someone like Steve who, as in my case, could have helped them avoid exacerbating injuries and improve their fitness and thereby extend their own five aside/sporting lives

Many thanks to you Steve for all of your assistance, skill, unwavering optimism and cheeriness throughout the last 6 years’.

Steve McLaren