Jimmy Shoulder's letter from Uzbekistan

February 2010

Well I’m now settling in to my new life here in Tashkent. It’s still winter and the temperature can get as low as -16 degrees. However I’ve experienced life in Tow Law in the past so -16 is like a summer day to me!!!

The first thing I was provided with was a lady translator who is not only a Class ‘A’ coach but has also played for the ladies national side. More importantly they also set me up with all the equipment needed to make a good cup of tea. (Oh - and an office to go with it!!) The coaches I’m working with are first class which is a great help.

The fact it’s still winter means that we haven’t been able to work outdoors but that should change soon.

As head of the Academy I’m responsible for about 300 youngsters aged from 7 years to 16 years and 160 of the older ones will be playing in the Academy games programme which kicks off in April. The kids love training and come in three times per week. From what I’ve seen they generally have great technique but need to become a bit more tactically aware. The Club want to bring the Academy up to the standards expected of the European model, for example better training facilities, top quality medical support and to establish a sports science programme. It is going to be an exciting challenge, but one I’m looking forward to.

Well - that’s everything for the time being. I’ll be in touch again soon.

Best wishes to SAFC, the supporters and all my friends in the Former Players Association.

Jimmy Shoulder