Premier league headteacher

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Young footballers at Millfields Primary in Nantwich will have something of an advantage for the rest of the season following former premiership player Phil Whelan’s appointment as headteacher of this great Cheshire school.

Phil, a former centre-half at Middlesbrough FC playing in the Bryan Robson years, Phil has big plans for the 250-place school in Marsh Lane – including coaching its football team himself.

He said: “The school is currently classed as ‘good’ by Ofsted, and we are working towards ‘outstanding’ but what I really want is for Millfields to become a real hub for the local community with staff, parents, pupils and our neighbours all seeing it as ‘their’ school.

“I also plan to coach the football team and I’m very keen to raise the profile of sport within school.”

The 42-year-old (2015) retrained as a teacher after his career ended in Southend 10 years ago.

He believes there’s a lot he’s learned that can be transferred from football to education.

“Motivation is the most important,” he added. “If you can master self-motivation and realise you are the most important person in your future you’re well on the way to success.”

He also stressed the importance of team-work.

“We have a great team, of staff who work really well together,” he said. “They work well with each other and with the pupils. The social and pastoral care at Millfields is excellent.”

Originally from Reddish in Stockport, Phil first played with the Old Gregorians in the Manchester League when he was  aged 16. From there he joined Ipswich Town  at the age of 18 (1990) and, as well as playing for The Tractor Boys, he also studied for a degree at The University of East Anglia.

cheshire press photographer

© Mark Waugh

He then moved to Middlesbrough where he became part of former Manchester United’s Bryan Robson’s squad. Player-manager Robson took charge in 1994 and Middlesbrough were promoted to the Premier League.

His footballing career ended at Southend where he also studied for his teaching qualifications at Essex University.

“By the start of my last season I knew my footballing career was coming to an end so I started to think about what else I could do,” he added. “My degree was in accountancy but I didn’t want to go from playing football to sitting in an office all day.

“A chance conversation led to a friend of mine inviting me into the school where he worked. From the moment I went in I loved it.”

After moving to Cheshire in 2004, he taught at Whitchurch Junior School in Shropshire. He then taught at Elworth Primary School in Sandbach and after that took up the deputy headteacher’s post at the Dingle Primary in Haslington.

Phil’s grandad, Jack Connor, was the leading goal scorer for Stockport County FC and his dad, Paddy Whelan from ireland,  play for them too. His cousin, Joe Connor, currently plays for Southport FC.

 

 

 

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Text is from wikipedia and press release by Rich Media but edited by myself over time
Manchester Press Photography commission Manchester’s number one press and pr photographer in Cheshire
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