BBC Radio 1's Stories - Boot Boys - The Story Of The Football Apprentice


20110919The world of a professional footballer seems to have it all: glamour, fame, money - all while you get to play football for a living.

But what does it really take to achieve ultimate success? Former professional footballer Dion Dublin lifts the lid on this often private and guarded industry. At the heart of this programme are the stories of two young football apprentices striving to be offered professional contracts at Cambridge United FC. Their experiences as young footballers are contrasted with those of apprentices at the Premier League's Aston Villa.

The apprentices Dion follows are typical teenage boys - interested in music, socialising, clothes, girls and football. They guide us through their background, their motivations in life, their concerns for the future and their ultimate ambition of becoming a professional footballer. What tough life choices have they already made to be in this position? Do they regret not taking other opportunities? Have they got any other career in mind if their attempt fails? What is their typical day like?

We explore their hopes, dreams and their insecurities, which are probably familiar to many other teenagers in Britain. We also hear from those who have already made the grade - Darren Bent, Stiliyan Petrov and Sir Trevor Brooking, on what they sacrificed as young men to reach the heights of professional football; and from Chipmunk, who was a football apprentice before choosing music as his career.

Ex-footballer Dion Dublin follows young apprentices at Cambridge United and Aston Villa.