Bobby Zamora: “Coaching is about who you know as well as what you know”

Brighton striker talks nepotism in coaching, his plans to return to the Premier League and starting a social housing charity.

Bobby Zamora in action for Brighton against Wolves
Bobby on the beat Bobby Zamora admits Brighton will need luck to get promoted. Image Picture Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Former England international Bobby Zamora has told Loaded he’s not sure about getting into coaching when he retires – because he faces too much competition.

And the striker, having a successful Championship season on his return to Brighton, claims that getting into coaching is also largely dependent on being a good networker.

Zamora told Loaded: “Coaching is and isn’t something I’m looking to do. It is, because it’s obviously very rewarding.

“But, on the other hand, literally everyone who finishes in football now is looking to do coaching. The market is swamped, and football is funny because it’s about who you know as well as what you know.”

“You have to be a networker to get into coaching, the same as any walk of life”

The 35-year-old rejoined Brighton at the start of this season, and has helped fire the Seagulls to fourth in the Championship, just two points off Burnley at the top. His career may be starting to wind down, but Zamora is cautious about coaching.

“If you know the right people well, there’s a good chance you get a job coaching the youth team somewhere,” he admitted. “And if you don’t… You have to be a networker, but that’s the same in any walk of life. It’s not just football.”

Zamora has scored seven goals in nine starts this season, but insists he’s not especially happy with his form.

“I haven’t played particularly well, to be honest,” Zamora stated. “The goals have gone in, which is great. I’ve always been critical of myself, and I’ve not been able to find enough chances for myself.

“But I’ve put away the chances I have had, and that’s obviously pleasing.”

Zamora, who got two England caps at the start of the decade while with Fulham, admitted Brighton will need luck on their side if they’re to get promoted.

Bobby Zamora in his England days
Social mobility Bobby Zamora is starting a social housing charity. Image Picture Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“How we can keep our good run going is the million dollar question,” he admitted. “There are seven teams up there right now, and we’d all love a good run of 10 wins from the last 13 or so games. Whoever gets that run will need a bit of luck and a lot of balls and desire. That’s what will get us a long way.”

If Brighton do go up, Zamora will want to play his part.

“I’m still confident in my ability,” he stressed. “I’d love another chance in the Premier League, but we’ll have to see how it goes. Brighton need to get there first!”

Zamora was speaking to Loaded at the launch of Prodays Football Academy, his family soccer school with fellow former England international Andrew Johnson at the Chia Laguna resort in Sardinia which runs in May and July.

Former Everton and Crystal Palace striker Johnson was unhappy about the standard of soccer schools for his two sons on holiday and asked his friend Zamora to help.

“There’s not enough social housing and I’m aiming to help out”

“We had a two week trial of it last year,” Zamora recalls. “It’s just a great time, seeing the kids run around and their parents enjoy themselves.

“That said, I’d have thought the parents would be sat on the beach letting the kids play football, but they’re often lined up watching the football for five days solid. I’m thinking ‘Go and have a holiday!’ But they’re loving it and it’s a chance to give something back.”

Laidback off the pitch, Zamora’s voice breaks with emotion as he recalls the highlight of the first academy last summer. An autistic boy who had previously shown no interest in sport was persuaded to join in – and ended up saving the winning penalty in the academy’s shootout.

“It brings a lump to my throat every time I think about it,” Zamora says. “It makes me appreciate my own luck, definitely. Yeah, definitely.”

And the former Spurs, West Ham and QPR favourite is so aware of his good fortune that he intends starting up a social housing charity with two other as-yet-undisclosed footballers.

He grew up in East London, and is disturbed at how local residents are being priced out of the capital.

“The price of property in London is crazy,” Zamora fumes. “Areas like Stratford and Hackney, where I thought ‘That’s not very nice’ when I was younger, you can’t afford to buy or even rent there now.

“There’s not enough social housing, it’s an absolute fortune, and we’re aiming to help out. Part of it will be having activities for kids who finish school with nothing to do. We’ll have something to announce in the not too distant future.”

If he shows the same determination as he does on the pitch, Bobby Zamora may suddenly become a charity force to be reckoned with.

The Prodays Football Academy runs at Chia Laguna on May 28-June 4 and July 2-30 as part of the Italian Hospitality Connection series of resorts.

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Loaded’s deputy editor John Earls has covered entertainment and sport across a range of national newspapers, plus several football and music magazines, since 1990. Follow him on Twitter at @EarlsJohn

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