Today I interview Robbie Sweeney, a young footballer I grew up with in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in the early 2000s. He went on to play for a couple of academy teams, played for Stevenage under England great Teddy Sheringham, travelled to the United States for a bit of coaching, and is now back in England playing the sport he loves.
Q. Robbie, I grew up with you, talking, playing, and breathing football. I ended up playing youth football for Gorleston FC, whereas you progressed to spend a good few years at Norwich City Academy. How long did you spend there and how was the experience?
A. Yeah I remember those days like it was yesterday, some brilliant memories. I spent three years originally from u9 to being released at u11. I came away and re-signed to my local club of Bohemians (not to be confused with Irish Premier side) before re-joining the Norwich city academy at u15 level. I was then released at u18 for the second time. My experiences taught me so much and gave me valuable experiences that will help me to continue to progress in my current performances to date. Working daily in such a professional environment helped me to better my technical skills as well as my life skills conducting myself better as a person.
Q. During your time at Norwich City, did you play with any big names, that you can remember?
A. Yeah I played with a few. I was a couple years below training up with the older squad during Norwich’s FA Youth Cup winning year. With the likes of both Murphy twins (Josh, Milton Keynes Dons andJacob, Newcastle United) and Cameron McGeehan (Scunthorpe United) that’s gone on to do brilliantly as well! A proud moment for me to say I’ve been able to train along side those boys. I played pretty much my whole academy years alongside probably the most talented footballer I’ve come across in Todd Cantwell who is currently doing really well for Norwich’s u23’s. Also to add to that I grew up with a lot of guidance from Norwich goal keeper Remi Matthews. He helped me a lot when stepping up to the older age groups! He’s a brilliant goalkeeper that’s currently doing really well.
Q. Great to hear! After leaving Norwich the second time, what was your next step?
A. After leaving Norwich, I was quite apprehensive as to what was next for me. I went on a few trials at various clubs like Peterborough but nothing came of it. I started to panic and began to think that it was the end, but after seeing my highlights and reports I received a phone call one evening from Stevenage F.C., saying they like me and what I’m about, asking me to go for a week and see how I get on. A week then turned into two, turning into three and eventually after a lot ofhard work and massive credit to Darren Sarll for his perseverance, I was offered a two year contract at the club which was amazing for me.
Q. I loved following Stevenage whilst you were playing there, a couple of good youngsters coming through the ranks. But how amazing was it playing under Teddy Sheringham?
A. Yeah, there was some really good talent amongst the boys. If you look at Stevenage now with the amount of young players they have in the first team regularly, it’s brilliant for them and a brilliant look for the future there. Playing under Teddy was an unbelievable experience. He would teach you fine little details that helped your game massively. To begin with it was surreal but you have to get over that and stay professional.
Q. After you left Stevenage, where did you go next?
A. After I left, I was confused as to what was next for me, obviously devastated it had come to an end. You start to panic as you’re left without a club. I decided to take the American route and do some coaching in Chicago, which was a great experience. I then came home and decided to take a break from football as i’d played a handful of non-league games and to be honest, fell out of love for the game. But at the start of this season, I received a call from Tom Parke, the Wroxham FC coach, telling me he wants to rejuvenate me and my career. I’m currently with Wroxham and a great group of players.
Q. Well I’m glad you’ve managed to find your passion back in the game we all love. The old Wroxham Yachtsmen! I’ve been having a look through the Wroxham media and it seems like you’re doing quite well for yourself! Now away from yourself, I know you live and breathe Liverpool football as much as I do myself! What’s your opinion on the state of the club since Klopp took over?
A. Yeah I’m happy there and the supporters always give me there best support. It’s a very welcoming place. Liverpool for me, we’re heading in the right direction. I think if you look at the amount of goals we score and the opportunities we create, we lacked that in previous years. I think Klopp is a brave manager with the obesssion to be relentless to the opposition. As everyone knows, we concede a lot of goals aswell but I know it’s something he can address and overcome.
Q. I’d say the signing of Van Dijk could sort that out at the back. On to Coutinho, what are you thoughts on his big transfer to Barcelona?
A. Yeah, that’s it. Look at his performance against Everton! Shows early that he’s a great signing. As a Liverpool fan I’m devastated. Coutinho’s been my favourite player and idol over the past few years, watching him every week. It’s a massive loss. However from a football fan, i’m delighted he’s reached the very top. He’s an alien when it comes to his ability. Some of the things he does are breathtaking and he deserved that move!
You couldn’t have described him any better. He’s definitely lived up to his nickname ‘the magician’.
Anyway Robbie, thank you for taking the time out of your day to answer some questions for the website. You’re a great young footballer that we believe is one phone call away from hitting the big time, and we feel privileged to have interviewed you. We wish you a successful rest of the season, and up the Yachtsmen!!
You’re very welcome! Thanks for talking to me. Good luck, wish you and the site all the best!
Written by Luke Whiting