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Old boy Richard Sneekes experiences ups and downs of football life

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
From bottles of beer being smashed in the boot room, to nearly breaking his foot after kicking a player’s bag of tools, former Bolton Wanderers midfielder Richard Sneekes has seen it all as Halesowen Town first-team coach.

The Dutchman, who made 69 appearances for Wanderers between 1994 and 1996, does not come across as the type of coach who would lose his temper at his players, but when he does, it soon backfires.

“It was half time at Barwell, we were losing and playing poor,’’ said the 49-year-old.

“I had a rant which does not happen very often, so I decided to kick a bag to show them I was serious.

“I did not realise the player had all his work tools in the bag, so I nearly broke my foot.

“The other time, one of my players was going to change his boots. He grabbed his bag, opened the boot department and three bottles of beer smashed on the floor.

“It went all over the place, but we were winning comfortably, so I found it very funny.’’

Sneekes arrived at Bolton in August 1994 for £200,000 and is still fondly remembered at the club, having won promotion to the Premier League in his first season.

He said: “I loved my time at Bolton. It’s a great club, they have great fans and great people.

“From my first year in English football, to promotion to the Premier League and then the Coca-Cola Cup Final, you can’t get any better than that.

“I always look out for their results, as I want them to do well, nobody wants to see them struggle near the bottom.

“They have struggled financially over the last couple of years and hopefully they will pull through.

“Phil [Parkinson] and his staff have done unbelievably well under difficult circumstances, and a lot of my old team-mates are still involved with the club, which is great to see.”

Sneekes has experienced the highs and lows within football, from celebrating survival on the last day of the season with Sutton Coldfield Town, to suffering relegation down to the then Conference Premier with Hereford United.

Despite enjoying the rush of winning vital games as manager, his current teaching commitments will always fit into his busy schedule.

He said: “I was at Hereford in 2011 in League Two, we got relegated at the end of that season and my contract wasn’t renewed.

“I had to start all over again with work, which wasn’t easy.

“I’m a full-time PE teacher now and would not give that up for full-time football. I want to give something back to kids in schools.

“I would also like to manage as high as I can, but it would be on a part-time basis, so it’s limited to how high one can go.

“In my second year at Rushall Olympic we won the Staffordshire Senior Cup at Vale Park, and beat Blyth Spartans with Sutton Coldfield Town when we were 2-0 down and went on to win 3-2, it was a great day.

“But, staying up on the last day at Workington against all odds was an amazing experience, and one I won’t forget.’’

Sneekes, who left Wanderers in 1996 in a £400,000 move to West Bromwich Albion, for whom he made 250 appearances, got the job at Halesowen just two days after leaving Sutton Coldfield Town in January.

“I’ve known the guys at Halesowen for a while and they got in touch the day after I was dismissed to ask if I wanted to take on the coaching role,’’ he said.

“It meant I stayed in football at a very good non-league club, and I accepted.


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