Former Boro, Saints and Darlington star Neil Maddison has a new role after signing on as a coach at Middlesbrough College.
The appointment is a major coup for the College which is in the process of developing its Sports Academies as part of the new £6.5 million Middlesbrough College Sixth Form – known as MC6.
Maddison, 42, from Darlington is a familiar face to football fans around the North East after a distinguished career which has seen him play for Southampton, Middlesbrough and Darlington before making the transition to coaching and youth team management with his home town club Darlington FC.
Neil is bringing a wealth of experience to his new role of coaching Middlesbrough College’s men’s football team.
Neil, said: “It’s going really well so far, we’re developing the team and recruiting more students.
“The standard is very good and some of the players have been with clubs already. Some haven’t quite made it or have decided to get an education and there are one or two that I think could play at a higher level.
“The main difference when working with the college is that there is a bigger picture. Football is something the students do alongside their studies and we all have to remember that.
“The tutors and I work together, if a student is getting a bit behind with coursework, they won’t come to training that week, their education comes first.
“I’m very competitive, I always want them to win, but I want them to win the right way. When they play they are representing the college. It’s my job to make sure they conduct themselves in the right manner, and they do, we’ve got a great group here.”
The new MC6 building will include a state-of-the-art 4G pitch, the latest in artificial or astro turf, with rubber crumb and sand filled turf to replicate natural turf.
Maddison is a full qualified UEFA A licensed coach, who achieved this highly recognised qualification at England Headquarters, Lilleshall, while the college’s other coaching staff are qualified to UEFA B level.
Deputy Director of Sport at the College, Paul Watt, said: “As well as these qualifications, Neil brings invaluable experience of both playing and coaching professional football. This really gives the students who come to Middlesbrough College the best possible coaching experience alongside their academic commitments.
“We are in the process of developing our Sports Academies and this year is all about building appropriately for the future and recruiting the right staff is an integral part of that process.
“As part of the £6.5m development, the College has just updated its sports brand to MC SPORT to reflect the new build combining the Sixth Form Centre (MC6) with the state of the art sporting facilities. There are several other Sports Academies that are to be run next year, including male and female Volleyball, male and female Gymnastics and Basketball. We expect to expand our Sport Academies each year offering more variety of Sports Academies for learners to try and reach their sporting potential.”
Josh Keeble, 16, who is originally from London but now lives in Guisborough and is in his first year of a BTEC in Sports coaching and fitness, said: “Neil really knows what he’s doing, he’s played the game, he’s been a coach and he’s been a manager so if he tells you to do something it’s very difficult to argue with him!
“I want to be a football coach so a good team and coaching set up was the main thing I was looking for when deciding which college to go to.”
Both the men’s and women’s teams currently train three times a week at the Eston Academy.
The women’s team, coached by Dan Connelly, is currently second in the British Colleges Sports North East Women’s Division 1, just five points behind established side Gateshead. With a selection of Boro ladies in the College team, along with Sunderland and England ladies star Ellie Christon, 17, from Middlesbrough, the girls are pushing for a top two finish.
Amber Johnson, 18, originally from Hertfordshire, who now lives in West Lane, Middlesbrough and is a first year student studying Public Services, said: “A lot of colleges don’t have football teams, especially women’s teams so it’s great for me to be able to keep on playing.
“I want to join the police when I’ve finished college so it’s a good way for me to keep my fitness up as well.”