It’s 10.15pm and I’m standing outside the away dressing room at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate stadium with 10 other 17-year-old YTS players. We are politely but impatiently waiting after a first-team match for the last players to leave so that we can begin sweeping and mopping the dressing-room floors and cleaning the toilets as part of our duties as apprentices. The impatience is justified as we know that if we don’t get our jobs done quickly enough we will miss the last bus back to our digs and will have to club together for taxis, which would be a financial disaster as it would eat a huge chunk out of our £45 weekly salary.
At the time we all hated these tasks, which we thought were a waste of time. “What has this got to do with football?” and “What’s the point of this?” were questions that, at that