The Big Interview: Coulson excited by new role at former rivals York City

Michael Coulson
Michael Coulson

Football is just something in the blood according to proud Scarborian Michael Coulson.

The sport was a major part of his life from a very early age, as he regularly attended Edgehill games while his late dad Steve was in charge of the club.

Brothers Martin, Alec and John also turned out for Edgehill, giving the Saturday League oufit a real family atmosphere.

There was no pressure for Michael to progress as a youngster, but this was something he took on himself.

Since then his footballing adventure has been something of a rollercoaster ride, with the most recent stop being York City, the former fierce rivals of Coulson’s home-town club Scarborough FC.

“Some of my earliest memories are watching Edgehill play, even from a very young age, that was probably the highlight of my week,” said Coulson.

“They had a great side and the spirit was fantastic. It was when the Saturday League was a good level and because of that my dad took it so seriously.

“He was different with me though, I wasn’t pushed towards professional football. That was something I just wanted to do.

“It is every boy’s dream and at the age of 14 or 15 I realised that I had a chance.

“It isn’t something that falls into your lap though, there is a lot of hard work involved.

“I was out with the ball every night and I owe a lot of what I have achieved to Scarborough’s school of excellence coaches Mitch Cook, Gail Colling and Bob McDonald.”

Coulson progressed swiftly from the school of excellence and by the age of 16 he was pulling on the red shirt of the first team.

“That was the best thing that could ever have happened to me,” he added.

“My advice to any youth team player now is to sample life in the Conference because it brings you on a massive amount.

“Scarborough’s fans could be hostile, but they took to me well, possibly because I was just a young lad.

“To see what has happened since just kills me. I drive past that ground on Seamer Road every time I’m back and I still expect it to be the McCain Stadium.”

“I enjoyed every moment of it though. I’d usually leave the ground at about 4pm because I just wanted to be there.

“It is a bit weird now because I am playing alongside Scott Kerr next season and while I was at Scarborough I cleaned his boots.

“That is something that has gone from the game now, they don’t have the younger lads polishing up boots. Personally I think that is part of the experience, it helped you become a footballer.

“I did play with some excellent players at Scarborough. Scott Kerr was obviously one of them and there was also Neil Redfearn, who had just been there and done it.

“I have a lot to thank Neil for because he sent me to Barnsley to train with them, which helped me get my move.”

Coulson burst onto the scene at Barnsley, playing a major part in the Championship club’s FA Cup run, which took them through to the semi-final of the competition.

His spell there was curtailed by injury though, resulting in loan moves back to Conference sides Northwich and Chester and then a permanent switch to Grimsby.

“I broke into the side at Barnsley as a 20-year-old and who knows what could have happened if I’d have got a few good games under my belt before I picked up my knee injuries,” he said.

“It is all part of football, sometimes things don’t go for you.

“Cruciate ligament injuries can sometimes end careers, but I had worked so hard to get where I was, there was no way that was going to happen.

“Things didn’t work out at Barnsley after that because Simon Davey left the manager’s job and Mark Robins came in.

“I was out injured and he had his own ideas, which I can’t blame him for.

“I stepped down and played my games at Grimsby and now I’m back in the league.

“I did have a great time at Grimsby, again the fans took to me and the club were spot on.

“Playing at Grimsby also allowed me to get some England recognition and I have my two caps to show for that.

“The England game at Fleetwood was fantastic because my family were all there and we were treated like royalty. When the national anthem played while we were on the pitch it was all a bit surreal.

“The Russian trip was a little different because the crowds weren’t as large.

“It was a great experience though because I’d have never gone to Russia on holiday, so it gave me the chance to take in the great grounds and the culture.”

Coulson is currently having a chill-out period before he starts up at York City.

He added: “I don’t suppose the rivalry is there anymore because Scarborough Athletic play a little lower down in the football pyramid.

“It is the perfect move for me though, it is handy, they play in the league and they play good football.

“Scott Kerr is there as well, which will help because it is always nice to know somebody at the club.

“They have added a few more players, so we’ll have to see how it goes.”

Coulson isn’t looking ahead any further than next season and the 24-year-old hasn’t pencilled in any specific aims for the rest of his career.

“Your time in football is short, so you want to play at the highest level possible,” he said.

“I haven’t got any aims in the game apart from achieving that.

“At some point, maybe in a few years time, I’d love to turn out in the red of Scarborough again.

“I can see them moving up through the levels because they do have a good following. I had such a great time there before and I’d love to be part of it again.

“Even as a schoolboy I was made to feel welcome because Russell Slade invited me on a few trips away with the first team just to give me experience.

“I still keep in touch with Jimmy Beadle, Scott Kerr and Steve Baker, but unfortunatelty you do lose touch from time to time.

“Playing at Scarborough allowed me to go on and play in some great grounds against some great players.

“The best of which were probably Morecambe’s Jim Bentley and John Terry in the FA Cup, though that wasn’t for long.”