Derek Mountfield is revelling in his new life in coaching – but there’s not a pay packet in sight among his subjects.
Following 22 years in professional football, the former Wolves centre-half now works exclusively in schools and says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I go into primary and secondary schools as well as the disability sector and find it immensely satisfying,” he said. “To say it’s rewarding is an understatement.
“I don’t just coach football. I also turn my hand to basketball, handball, rugby, cricket and volleyball with them and now appreciate how playing one sport can help you become better at another.
“The fundamentals are movement, balance, twisting, turning, running, jumping, throwing and catching, so someone who learns to jump properly for basketball, say, is likely to become better at leaping to head the ball in football or to catch it in rugby.
“Sports overlap much more than I ever imagined when I was playing and I’ve become fascinated by the links between them.”
Home to the 46-year-old, who played 91 games for Wolves from 1991 to 1994, is The Wirral, ‘around a mile from Incey’s place.’
He keeps his hand in with his first sporting love by working as a match-day host at Everton alongside the likes of Ian Snodin, Duncan McKenzie, Jim Pearson and Graeme Sharp. But, for the most part, he is consumed by his new career.
“There’s nothing to compare with playing and I was lucky to spend the best years of my football life at Everton, the club I supportd as a lad,” he added.
“But it’s seven years now since I left my job as manager of Cork City, which is where I went after Wolves, Carlisle and Walsall, and I don’t miss the day-to-day involvement.
“I’ve basically reinvented myself because I had no qualifications when I left school, yet I’ve walked out of Manchester University with a sports science degree that has opened exciting new doors for me.”