Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hardest Lesson of All; Premiership's Youngest Scorer Is Now a Teacher and Playing in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hardest Lesson of All; Premiership's Youngest Scorer Is Now a Teacher and Playing in the FA Cup Second Qualifying Round

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE BERNSTEIN

THE boyish-looking teacher at North Birmingham College has a good answer if any of his 17-yearold students start playing up.

"Grow up," he'll say. "At your age I was scoring goals in the Premiership and being compared to Ryan Giggs."

The teacher, Andy Turner, was an overnight sensation when his goal for Tottenham against Everton 10 years ago this month made him the Premiership's youngest scorer at 17 years, 188 days - a record since eclipsed only by Michael Owen.

But whereas Owen became a world star, Turner toiled for a decade before turning his back on the professional game in the summer. This weekend, Turner will be playing for part-time Tamworth in the FA Cup second qualifying round against Bromsgrove.

If there is one thing 'sir' has found out about his new life, it's that being a former football celebrity cuts little mustard with today's teenage pupils or opponents in the Doctor Martens League.

"Some of the kids ask me if it's true I used to play for Spurs," said the Woolwich-born winger. "When I tell them 'yes', they do look a bit stunned .

Some of them look up at me and go 'Nah' as if they don't believe me.

"It's the same thing when I turn out for Tamworth. Once one person finds out, they all want to ask me what Terry Venables is like and how many goals I've scored.

"It doesn't get me any favours, though.

The lower down the leagues you go, the more physical it gets. The standard at Tamworth is very good and I wouldn't say I've found it any easier than the Premiership."

Injuries and frequent moves put Turner's football career on a downward spiral after that early promise. Having just turned 27 and playing fulltime for Yeovil, Turner decided to make his big life decision and leave the professional ranks.

He said: "I sat down with my wife, Tracey, and we had a big heart-to-heart.

I really wanted to settle down somewhere and establish some roots. I didn't want to be coming out of football at 32 or 33 wondering what I would be doing next, not being qualified to do anything."

A job came up at North Birmingham College, running the football Academy and teaching an NVQ in sport and recreation. …

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