Jerry Gill knows a thing or two about football at all levels. A career that began in the Conference with Bath City and took in nearly 300 games in the Football league, for four clubs over 12 years, will do that for you, now he’s bringing that professionalism into the 6 a side game.
Jerry, who had started in the non leagues, is now the manager back where it all began, guiding Bath City in the Conference South, has just taken on the license to run the Bath area, and he’s got specific aims in mind.
“I am keen on getting people fit and giving people the chance to play football. We need to improve the mental and physical health of communities and those are the people I am keen to get playing in the leagues”, Jerry explained.
In a break with usual Leisure Leagues protocol, the former Birmingham, Yeovil and Cheltenham player is planning to run most of his leagues indoors, an idea he got from his own experiences: “I played in the Masters tournaments for Birmingham City and it sparked something in me. It’s a different sort of football, one that is more inclusive, it attracts older people and that is really important to me.”
For this, he plans to lean on the experience of his Bath City Assistant Jim Rollo. “Yes, Jim has some great contacts with a lot of venues in the area, he’s a great guy to know!” he smiled.
And, of course Jerry’s day job as Manager of Bath City (above) leaves him in a unique position to operate his leagues, and his commitment to community extends to his stewardship of the club: “One of the things we’ve tried to do with our recruitment this year is to being lads back who know the area and know the South West. Players like Chris Lines and Elliot Frear, who have been away, played league football and want to give something back.”
A popular and hard-working full back, wherever his career took him, Gill was nostalgic when he arrived at Leisure Leagues HQ for his training: “It is brilliant to be back in the Midlands!” he told us. “I had a wonderful time at Birmingham City (above right). I had a fantastic relationship with the supporters, probably the best I ever had anywhere.”
Despite that, his time at Birmingham gave Jerry his only regret in football. “Even speaking about it now gets me upset,” he said. “But I missed out on the League Cup Semi-final with Liverpool in 2001. I am a Liverpool fan too, so it would have been special. I did play at Anfield (pictured above with Michael Owen) , though so that made up for it.”
Football gave Jerry Gill more highs than lows and he still maintains his infectious love of the game. Now he wants to pass that to others. “Yes, I want to get a couple of leagues running as soon as we can, and I know that having a Leisure Leagues Franchise is the best way to help me do that. Once they are up and running I want to look at ways to get children playing too. Let’s give football to everyone.”
Jerry Gill has the future planned out, and he knows better than most just where football can take you when hard work and talent mix.
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