James Ford : We are not done yet!
14 wins and 9 losses so far this season and "we are not done yet" were the words chosen by James Ford to sum up the York City Knight's journey this year. Ford, once a respected super league player himself, has recently turned heads as a rugby coach. I caught up with Mr Ford shortly after the Knights famous win over Toronto Wolfpack a few weeks ago, and here is how our converstation unfolded.
1. What is the funniest thing you’ve heard from the crowd during a game?
"Recently I got plenty of stick from the Keighley fans, nothing on its own was anything to write home about but the sheer persistence and commitment to annoy me by one specific fan was an incredible effort - definitely deserving of a special mention. As a player, probably in an away game for Sheffield, a Featherstone fan offered me a pint during the game – ‘have a swig of this it’ll help you play better’. "
2. You’ve played for a number of pro rugby teams. In which team did you learn your most valuable lesson?
"Widnes – I really struggled with injuries and form whilst at Widnes. I really wanted to play at fullback despite a number of coaches explaining to me it was far from my best position – I obviously thought I knew best! Looking back at old games they were right, I do regret being difficult as a player!"
3. What would you say the biggest challenge a pro rugby player faces in the modern game?
"I think players need to be willing to consistently make sacrifices. To become the best player you can be, you need to be willing to give more than you get. Sadly, in today’s game that isn’t always the case."
4. You’re 18-0 up against the Wolf Pack at half time. What did you say to the lads in the dressing room?
"I’m not fully sure to be honest. Probably congratulated the boys on a good first half, identified some areas that we needed to work a little harder on – then reminded them that we couldn’t afford to switch off as when Toronto get momentum they’re a hard team to deal with."
5. Do you keep a close eye on any amateur teams? If so which ones?
"Yes, I’ve been to watch Lock Lane, York Acorn, Fryston and Hunslet a few times this year."
6. What advice would you give young lads hoping to make it as a pro?
"Attitude over ability. Be as coachable as possible, buy into the strength and conditioning element and enjoy it – it’s over before you know it."