I was born and grew up just outside of Liverpool. It is a typical working-class city and a city that is obsessed with sport. People work hard from Monday to Friday and they live for their sport on the weekend.
Personally, I remember going to see football matches with my grandad and my dad. We would go see Everton play on the weekends. It was my father and my grandad that steered me towards sport, especially football and cricket. In school I would also play table tennis, compete in athletics and even boxing – although the latter wasn’t for me as I didn’t like getting punched in the nose.
I grew up with my mum, dad and two sisters. I was a bit of a rebel, especially in primary and secondary school. I was never the most academic student and got myself in a little bit of trouble with teachers from time to time, I would say I was very mischievous.
I was always out on the street kicking a ball around and didn’t have many aspirations for the future. My older sisters both went to college and that motivated me to think about my future. I knuckled down in year 10 and 11, and after college I went onto university.
I was lucky to have some very inspiring lecturers that helped steer me towards my current career path. I managed to turn it around and do something with my life and this spurred me on to help others achieve their ambitions.
I came down to London in 2015. I worked for Leyton Orient FC helping students from the local area progress in college and aspire to attend university in future. One of the universities we took the students to was the University of East London. I remember taking students to visit the campus, test the sports equipment and see the facilities.
I now manage higher education programmes at West Ham United Foundation and I am also a co-programme leader at the University of East London. I’ve been here for three years and we’ve provided so many opportunities for our students with graduates going on to work for football clubs like West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Fulham and Manchester City in Abu Dhabi.
It’s a privilege to be able to help people on their journey.
Andrew Griffiths is the Higher Education
Manager at West Ham United Foundation