Mel credits dad for his success

SUCCESSFUL Stowmarket Town manager Mel Aldis owes much to his father Colin.And he has strong views on the wrong influences dads often have on their children.

By Elvin King

SUCCESSFUL Stowmarket Town manager Mel Aldis owes much to his father Colin.

And he has strong views on the wrong influences dads often have on their children.

"Dad used to spend hours and hours with me in the back garden," said the former player who has lifted unfashionable Stowmarket into the top four of the Jewson League and guided Earl Soham Victoria to victory in the Carlsberg Pub Cup at Wembley Stadium.

"He wouldn't let me use a football and made me use a tennis ball. I learned how to trap the smaller ball, which held me in good stead when I started to play football seriously."

Mel's eight-year-old son Matthew – he has another son William (two) and three daughters – shows potential, but is being nursed through his early years by his dad.

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"It is wrong that boys as young as Matthew are already playing competitive football," added Mel. "It can do more harm than good. My father sent me to Framlingham College and I played rugby at school. I was in my late teens when I began playing football.

"When I was 38 I was still an active player and still enjoying the game. Too many footballers give up in the early thirties because they are burnt out."

Mel is manager of Debenham Sports Centre where he runs after-school football sessions and clubs. "But scores do not count," he said.

"This is important. I put the youngsters into teams and they play small-sided matches, but we do not keep count of the goals.

"There is too much emphasis on winning - with far too many kids reaching 16 with a host of medals but no real soccer education.

"I coach in France on a regular basis where my feelings on this have been confirmed. The French play no competitive football until boys reach their teens."

Returning to the part his father played in his footballing up-bringing, Mel said that he was taught the right habits.

"He told me to hate losing. To detest it, but to accept it. He made sure that I stood up for myself but that I did not cheat.

"Our garden in Bedfield was so narrow that I had to learn to kick a tennis ball straight. Otherwise it was in our neighbours' vegetable patches and I was in big trouble."

Mel's twin brothers Roger and Terry both played football at senior level, with the former currently in the Stowmarket first team squad.

"They are seven years younger than me, and I took over from dad and spent hours playing football with them in the garden when they were in their formative years," explained Mel.

Father and son played together in the Framlingham Town side in the early eighties. "Dad was in his early forties then, but he was still a star," recalled Mel.

"He was a gifted player and was picked for the full RAF side while he was in the Forces. We have letters from clubs asking him to attend trials including Nottingham Forest.

"But coming from a single parent home he was unable to make his way to trials."

Colin lives locally and is a drainage contractor, watching his sons in action when he can. He must be very proud.

CAPTION: TWO OF A KIND: Colin and Mel Aldis pictured when members of the same Framingham Town side in the early eighties. Pictures: LIBRARY