HAVING played at the highest level of English football in a career which spanned more than 600 games, ex-professional footballer Steve Yates, who lives in Great Sutton, certainly knows a thing or two about the beautiful game. GARY PORTER finds out how he plans to use that knowledge.
SINCE hanging up his boots during the summer, former Premier League star Steve Yates has had to quickly adapt to life after professional football.
Now working for a packaging firm in Deeside, the 35-year-old readily admits he misses the excitement that only a match day can bring.
But he also acknowledges he's been lucky to have enjoyed such a wonderful career.
Besides, Yates is now concentrating on helping the next generation of budding footballers to follow in his footsteps.
The ex-Tranmere defender currently runs his own soccer school in Chester and Bebington and wants to use his wealth of experience in the game to unearth the next footballing gem.
He said: 'I decided I'd retire at about 35 and so far I have no regrets about doing it, although I miss being around the lads and playing on a Saturday afternoon.
'I've always wanted to coach youngsters as I feel I can give them a real insight into how football clubs train their players.
'I'm in a position to pass on my experience and give kids professional training.
'A lot more children are getting left behind or missing their opportunity to show off their talent. I hate to see that happen.'
He added: 'If I can give them that little helping hand with the coaching, I could act in many ways as a scout for local kids. I can't make a player but I've learned a lot over the years and I wouldn't want it to go to waste.'
'I'd also love to get involved in coaching some of the junior sides in the Port or helping out local clubs, because I've got virtually all the equipment of a football club. If anyone wanted me to pass on my knowledge to the kids, I'd be delighted to.'
Having played against some of the best sides in England while spending two years in the top flight with QPR, and famously netting a brace for Tranmere during a 3-0 FA Cup win over Everton, there is certainly no disputing that Yates is offering invaluable experience that will benefit any aspiring footballer.
He said: 'Scoring twice at Goodison has to be the highlight of my career. Although we had an unbelievable night when we came from behind to beat Southampton, from a personal viewpoint, the game against Everton was my best individual performance.'
Yates has been living in the Port since 1999, during his time with Tranmere, and says he feels right at home, which is why he's hoping to give something back to the town by helping develop the young talent in the borough.
He said: 'I love it up here. The people are really friendly and down to earth. It's totally different to the way people are down in the south, where they generally ignore you.
'I'm really settled here and I even used to commute every day during my two seasons with Huddersfield.'