An ex-Bolton Wanderers player is kicking off a new career by helping to get young adults interested in football.
Glenn Keeley, who played for the Wanderers in the 1980s, has just signed to Bolton Community Leisure Trust as a “Get into Football Officer”.
His new goal in life will be to encourage Bolton’s young adults to play football and keep fit.
Born in Basildon in 1954, Keeley played professionally for Ipswich Town, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers and has lived in the North West for 30 years.
After leaving the game, Keeley became a lecturer in Sports Studies at Trafford College, where he taught up-and-coming footballers such as Chris Eagles and Danny Simpson.
In 2005 he joined Bolton Council’s Sport, Health and Inclusion team developing community football initiatives and promoting social inclusion throughout the borough.
During his time at the council, Keeley has been involved in many innovative projects, including setting up football-themed breakfast clubs in schools, free summer football schemes and wheelchair football.
His new role is a jointly funded Trust and Football Association post which will enable him to continue his work developing football in the community, primarily looking at developing 16+football in Bolton.
Commenting on his new signing, Keeley said: “Football builds confidence and self-esteem and brings people together from different backgrounds. Even players with limited ability benefit from being part of a team.
“Once school leavers stop playing it is difficult to get them back into it. They may be unaware of the opportunities available to them and are often distracted by work, partying and relationships. Football clubs can be daunting places for 16 year olds who are expected to compete against men aged 30 plus.
“Bridging the competitive gulf to adult leagues is a major hurdle we need to overcome.”
Richard Saunders, Vice Chairman of Bolton Community Leisure Trust and Chief Executive of Greater Sport, said: “We are delighted that Glenn has joined us. One league in Bolton, the Bolton Bury District Junior Football League, has already achieved the FA Charter Standard and is in the top rankings in the country with over 70 football clubs.
“With Glenn’s help we can improve on this by encouraging progression through U17s, U18s and U21s leagues and by providing games at more suitable times to cater for the busy demands of teenagers.”
Anyone interested in setting up or joining a team should contact Glenn on 07792 371893.