Damian Lights Path

Manchester Evening News - June 2008

With a little help from the biggest names in world sport, author Damian Hughes is following his famous father ensuring the best of opportunities for young boxers at the Collyhurst and Moston Lads' Club.

Dad Brian 68, has been chief coach at the club on Oscar Street, Moston for 45 years.

As well as training champs such as Pat Barrett and Robin Reid, Brian has helped hundreds of youngsters learn discipline from the ring - and it was partly because of his work with young people he was honoured with an MBE in 2000.

Brian also found time to become established as a distinguished author of sport books, work which fired the imagination of son Damian, who himself has written two books with a third out next month, that centre on making the most of your life.

And for every book Damian sells - and there have been over 10,000 - a percentage of the takings goes to the club that is so close to their hearts.

Everyone who is anyone in sport or in the business world knows or has helped Damian. From Fergie to Sir Richard Branson, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Angelo Dundee, they have put their names to Damian's books Liquid Thinking and Liquid Leadership.

So how did it all begin for the Oldham Hulme Grammar School boy who played for England School Boys Under-16s? Damian naturally enough had high hopes of making it as a pro footballer and was on the books at Nottingham Forest when Brian Clough was manager but the legendary boss seemed more interested in his dad and all things boxing.

It was Damian himself who decided he was more interested in coaching football. He said: "I began to realise I didn't have the ability to get right to the top in the game. I probably lacked a bit of confidence in my own ability."

Entrepreneur

He opted to take A-levels and play semi-pro football at Mossley, Guiseley and then Buxton. He worked for the Bobby Charlton coach soccer schools and even spent time in Greece studying for a Classics degree.

He began writing for a living after landing a job in human resources for Unilever based in South Africa. His first book Liquid Thinking features an interview with Richard Branson, who also wrote the foreword in which the entrepreneur says he's flattered to be chosen as a role model.

Nobby Stiles in his testimony reveals that in 1966 just before extra-time in the World Cup final, Sir Alf Ramsey told the England team that they had the chance to "step forward and achieve their ambitions over the next 30 minutes."

Sir Alex Ferguson in his foreword to Damian's second book writes that United players have established a reputation for being tough but also for playing fair which the United boss says is a discipline he has worked hard to instil in them.

Adding: "I believe that is a fundamental requirement to get through life."

Fergie adds: "Before I got to where I am today I had to have a beginning and I believe that I had a great upbringing to prepare me for my later years. I have many recollections which I fall back on from my childhood and a lot of them help to create the foundation of my character and personality as a leader.

"Everyone played football and it was always a competitive environment but this healthy competition created a will to win but encourages real leadership qualities to emerge.

"This taught me discipline and a loyalty to friends and it was also responsible for the drive and perseverance which you need to be successful and these traits have never left me, simply because I could not let down those who helped me all those years ago; they invested their time in me and I believe in fulfilling that sacrifice."

Praising Damian's work, Sir Alex adds: "The important thing to succeed is a real work ethos, discipline, determination and a respect for others."

Damian who lives in Sale is, like all authors, a little reluctant to give too much away about his next book which is entitled Liquid Thinking: Survival Guide to Change but it does feature an insight to the world of Tiger Woods through his caddy Steve Williams.

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