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Last night we sat down with Nottingham Forest, Wales & Wednesday legend Mark Crossley for our first virtual conversation from the clubhouse.

Firstly, the anxiety was very real. For me anyway. It was the first virtual conversation for starters, so getting the tech right and working properly was the first issue!

Growing up in the ’90’s I followed nearly all of Marks career as a professional, being a goalkeeper myself (Sully Colts under 11’s players AND managers player of the year #justsayin), that was the position on the pitch that fascinated me.

Amongst many other’s, Mark played for my 2 footballing loves, Wales and (Sheffield) Wednesday. I wanted to hear all about it. The good the bad and the ugly.

The photo in this blog Mark acknowledges to be one of his favourite memories from his career. The photo sits proudly in his fathers house, and clearly illustrates him leaping like a salmon above a young 17 year old Gareth Bale to score the last minute equaliser in a 3-3 draw for Sheffield Wednesday against Southampton.

I wanted to hear about Brian Clough. This remarkable man, coach and icon. The stories were everything we could’ve wanted and more.

  • We heard about the trust between young player and experienced manager when signing a blank contract.
  • The remarkable man management tactics Clough employed to keep players feet firmly on the ground – including ”Allowing” players to play Sunday league football the day after playing in front of 30,000 people.
  • The endearing nicknames given to a young professional such as ‘Sh**house’ and ‘Jigsaw’

The other reason I was interested in sitting down with Mark, was to hear about the group he and pals ex and ex professionals set up in order to raise money for worthy organisations.

Walking’s Brilliant was set up on the back of Mark and others struggling to find their way post a career in football. The daily structure, being told where to go and where to be that had been imbedded in their brains for over 25years was a huge challenge to navigate.

Walking is simple and it’s effective. We talked through Mark’s ‘Why’s’, the benefits of walking side by side with your pal and talking about the confusing things going on in your head.

Fundraising continues and you can support the work Mark and the lads are doing by clicking the link here

A few takeaways from the conversation:

  • Values maketh the man – HIs father, Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough taught Mark all about the importance of discipline, treating people with respect and taking advantage of the opportunities you’re given.
  • If you ever get the chance to meet Mark, make sure you shake hands firmly and look him directly in the eye. Amongst other things, this is a legacy from a Cloughie education.
  • Plan it, Do it, feel better for it – I love this. Things are really easy to plan but when we aren’t in a good place it’s very easy to not do it. And as such, certainly not feeling better for it. This little mantra is a brilliant reminder of the control we have on our own behaviours.

Until next time.

Always remember, Speak Easy and #walkingsbrilliant