From Peterborough reject to professional in Brazil - Seth Burkett #1
I was joined by Seth Burkett for Episode two of the V2 Big Interview. We discuss Seth's career, looking back on his playing days and discussing his writing career which he has moved on to.
Seth joined Peterborough as a youngster, and was released at just ten years old. He was informed of this via a letter telling him that he would not retained. I asked whether the club treated him fairly:
'They did and they didn't. The coaches genuinely cared, nobody likes to release a player and they were constructive. They gave me advice on what I could do to improve and advice on how to get into other clubs. I recently bumped into one of the coaches at St George's Park and he remembered everything. it really hit home about how much they care.
It came out of the blue, and giving me a heads up in advance, perhaps by speaking to the parents would have really helped. The pressure was enormous and with short term contracts, just 12 months long and a minimum of 2 year contracts would have shown more of a commitment.'
Following this, he joined local club Stamford and an opportunity came about for the side to go on tour in Brazil. He explains how this came about:
'There was a Brazilian guy who started to watch our games, it was a real talking point and it turned out he was an agent, including for Arsenal player Denilson. He became more involved with the club and gave us an opportunity to go to Brazil for pre-season. We got to the airport and there was a media frenzy there, all sorts of photographers, TV and radio guys. We were playing an international tournament, and on the same pitch as Philippe Coutinho. He'd just signed for Inter Milan for 7.5m Euros and was pretty tasty.'
Seth then became the first English player to play professionally in Brazil, moving over there at just 18 years old. This was a big change in culture as he explains how it comes about.
'That was when I got really fortunate as five or six of our lads who trained with Vitoria. The manager came to me, saying that his left back had been called up for the Brazil U18 team and offered me a chance to play for his side. I did okay, we won 2-0.
After that Sorriso then came to me and offered me a role and in October I was flying out there. It was a big culture shock going from a middle-class background. There was a converted garage which was split into three bedrooms for 28 of us. I got to be in the best room as an Englishman, I was of real interest to the Brazilians.'
He documented his time there are released a book, called The Boy In Brazil, which accounts for his time spent over there.
'There was a lot of downtime and I kept a diary. As my time progressed, a lot of crazy stuff started to home and I decided to write a book which was The Boy In Brazil. All throughout school my best subjects were PE and English and my gran was an author. I'd always wanted to write a book and this was a perfect opportunity.'
Following on from this, Seth has recently released No Final Whistle. This is a book which is aimed at children, which builds on his own experiences. The book is a fictional account of a young player called Alfie Bennett. He has also been supported by Sam Clucas, who wrote a foreward for the novel.
I always wanted to write a children's book, I found the football books inspirational. I submitted it to publishers and fortunately ended up with No Final Whistle. The media has been good, with youth development and academy football topics close to my heart. The story itself is a true one which happened to me and I hope inspires children and readers. I will definitely be writing more childrens books in the future.'
You can find more details and purchase No Final Whistle here:
Thank you to Seth for providing his time. You can follow him and myself on twitter:
And you can listen to the interview in full here (also available on iTunes and other networks):