Mark Cartwright - Technical Director, Stoke City FC
“Through adversity, hard work AND only because I had an education behind me I have been able to achieve what I have in life as a professional sportsman”
Name: Mark Cartwright
Studied at HHS: 1984 - 1989
Current role: Technical Director, Stoke City Football Club
Route after leaving HHS:
My parents always told me an education was important and that if I didn’t achieve a certain number of GCSEs they would pull me out of my YTS (Youth Training Scheme - similar to today's apprenticeships) at York City and given it was only because I had my results that I was able to go on a sporting scholarship to the USA at 18, (having been told at 17 by a knee surgeon that I would never play football again). I would tell myself that dreams are there to be achieved yet you only get there by hard work and reality.
My current role:
In my role as Technical Director at Stoke City, an average day will start with an informal chat with the manager, discuss how the players have performed, how they are training, the upcoming game for example, then plenty of phone calls from agents throughout the day. I will also have several chats with our CEO about the plans for the future and what is needed to be done now in order to get a head start for the next transfer window.
I will meet with my team of scouts to discuss various positions and targets and whilst they are out travelling every weekend and during the week watching games, I am more specific and only go to watch games where there are potential 1st team players to make decisions on. There is a lot of information gathering and due diligence to keep me nice and busy!
Basically the biggest part of my job is the identifying and then the buying and selling any of the players that come into Stoke City from age 12 through to the first team.
What advice would give to your younger self?
Work hard, listen to advice and achieve all you can, because it will stand you in good stead for your future. I would also give myself a little kick up the backside and tell my younger self to work harder, as I only did the minimum required to get by at times!!
Regarding America, I went there on a soccer scholarship after my YTS, so I actually went to University at a place called Florida Institute of Technology (now Florida Tech). This not only continued my education through my ability as a football player but also gave me some important life skills at an early age. I was actually inducted into their hall of fame last year!
I know my story isn’t one where I have been a top student and progressed to become a doctor but through adversity, hard work AND only because I had an education behind me have I been able to achieve what I have in life as a professional sportsman.
I have plenty of good memories of the school, from various teachers that I had good relationships with and who really helped me, to a certain PE teacher that wouldn’t even put me in the school football team!!
I genuinely feel that the moral of the story is never give up and that whilst you don’t think it at the time, your school education and the hard work is vitally important for your future.