Former Burnley winger Ashley Hoskin spoke to me for No Nay Never the other week.
Andy Devanney: You are the latest Vintage Claret to join twitter. What was your motivation to do so?
Ashley Hoskin: My son, Jake, told me to ‘get with it’ on loads of occasions, so I did; plus it’s a great advertising tool for my new company, X-Pro Football Academy.
AD: You have been a Claret all your life. Can you remember your first game watching Burnley?
AH: My first game was Coventry City at the Turf in 1973 I think. I remember running up the steps and was really excited to see the pitch. I had to sit on my dad’s shoulders so I could see the game.
AD: You played during some of Burnley’s darkest days. What was the feeling and mood around the club when Tommy Cavanagh signed you in 1985?
AH: The mood in the camp was always good because we had some great lads in the dressing room. I was in cloud cuckoo land after TC signed me. I was only 17 but because I was in the first team and signed as a professional I didn’t have to clean the terraces, players boots or any of the other jobs the apprentices had to do.
AD: You were a substitute in the now infamous Orient game. What do you remember about that day?
AH: That day was unbelievable. There was so much interest from the world’s press. We were filmed at Gawthorpe all week by the media. On the day I remember we couldn’t see the game from the dugout because of all the cameramen focusing on Brian Miller. The last few minutes were tense because the other games had finished, then the final whistle went and it was total relief.
AD: You were also present at some of the brightest days, most notably scoring away at Preston in extra time in the northern final of the Sherpa Van Trophy.
AH: Yeah, that night at Deepdale on the horrible plastic pitch. It was fantastic for all involved and to score was very special for me but more importantly fantastic for the Club, fans, staff and the board of directors who if I remember use to get some right stick at that time. Frank Teasdale used to think he was called Teasdale-Out.
AD: Brian Miller sat you on the bench again for the Wembley final. That must have been a disappointment after the Preston goal?
AH: At the time it didn’t enter my head about not getting a game but a few days later I did find it a bit harsh. Several years ago I was at the Turf and I saw Brian Miller and I actually asked him why he didn’t put me on. He said that he had thought about it many times since that day and realised he should have played me but at the time with the occasion of it all he didn’t realise what he had done. I respected him for that.
AD: What was your favourite memory as a Claret? Was it THAT goal at Swansea?
AH: That goal at Swansea – well it was special and I’m still getting beers bought to this day, but my favourite memory is scoring my first league goal as a Claret away at Scunthorpe. However, all the time I was a Burnley player was special because I had fulfilled a dream.
AD: How did you get in to coaching after your playing days were over?
AH: When I hurt my knee and finished playing I went on a PFA course to do some coaching which I really enjoyed. Around that time Burnley were starting their Centre of Excellence so I spoke with Mick Docherty and he invited me down to coach the under 9s. I went on to do my UEFA ‘B’ and UEFA ‘A’ licences. With every badge I gained I moved up an age group. It was always my ambition to work at the highest level and with the oldest age groups.
AD: What did becoming the reserve team manager mean to you?
AH: I was ecstatic when I applied for the development coach’s job and Brian Laws offered me the position. I mean come on, the Club I’d supported as a kid and gone on to play for then worked my way through the coaching setup to become reserve team manager, dream-world springs to mind. The lads I worked with were top drawer. Most of them came through the CoE with me so it was a case of getting them to adjust to the different pace. They played some terrific stuff and it was a pleasure to watch even if I do say so myself.
AD: It was a shame when you left in my opinion.
AH: I was gutted when I left, in tears actually, but managers come in and bring with them their own staff and you have to accept that. The last thing I did was shake Eddie Howe’s hand and wished him all the best.
AD: You moved on to Barrow. Do you still keep track of the lads you have coached?
AH: Yeah at Barrow we did have Joe Jackson, Alex-Ray Harvey and big Tom Anderson all three were great but they have been brought up to play the game the right way and Conference football is very route one but they did well. It’s great to see them making a living out of the game albeit at times they have to move on to fulfil their ambitions.
AD: As you mentioned earlier, you’ve started a football academy. What can you tell us about that?
AH: It’s called X-Pro Football Academy and is going very well. It’s me and Andy Payton. I’ve seen so many good players get released from clubs at all ages so we are looking to get them back on track and to get contracts at other clubs. We are based in Burnley just behind the Turf at the Spirit of Sport. Our hope are to see one of our kids who has been released from a club get a deal.
AD: Are you going to feature for the Vintage Clarets?
AH: My left knee is shot, but when I told John Deary his reply was ‘we are all shot at’. So yeah I will probably play at some point.
AD: How do you think Burnley will fare in the forthcoming season?
AH: I’d like to see us finish top. It looks like Sean Dyche has stopped us leaking silly goals but I feel he needs to be a bit more adventurous and play with a higher tempo and get the ball in the box earlier for Charlie Austin. The play-offs might be a more realistic aim.
AD: Finally are you still in contact with Phil Collins? (I had to ask.)
AH: No I’m not but might contact him and see if he wants to sponsor X-Pro!
Quality coaching at X-Pro costs £7.50 for 90 minutes. Follow X-Pro Football Academy @Xprofa1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Ashley can be found on twitter @ashhoskin11