Where are they now? Julian Alsop
Have you ever wondered what a former Swans player has been up to since hanging up his boots?
As part of a regular feature, we look at what former Swansea City players have been up to since retiring from playing.
This week we focus on former striker Julian Alsop, who scored 17 goals in 110 appearances for Swansea City between 1998 and 2000.
Alsop is now a teaching tutor for Let Me Play (www.letmeplay.co.uk).
Shortly after Julian Alsop signed for Swansea City on loan from Bristol Rovers in January 1998, a Swans-supporting friend of his offered him some advice.
“He said, ‘if you want to get off on the right foot there (at Vetch Field), you’ll start by going over to the North Bank to applaud them’,” smiles Alsop.
After stepping out on the Vetch pitch for his home debut against Darlington, the Nuneaton-born striker did exactly that.
And just 22 minutes into the match, he headed in the direction of the North Bank again – this time to celebrate his first goal for the Swans, which had put them 2-0 up on the night.
“I had played against Scunthorpe away on the Saturday and then I scored in a 4-0 victory on the Tuesday against Darlington,” recalls Alsop.
“It was a great atmosphere that night, as it always was at the Vetch. There was always something special about the floodlit games there.”
Two goals in five appearances whilst on loan with the club persuaded then Swans manager Alan Cork to make Alsop’s transfer a permanent one in March 1998.
He went on to score 15 times in a further 105 matches for the club through until June 2000.
“My whole time at Swansea was fantastic,” reflects Alsop. “You could see in during my loan spell there that Alan Cork was getting the nucleus of a decent team together.
“I was gutted when he was sacked, but John Hollins came in and brought the experience and guidance the team needed.
“We got to the play-offs in John’s first season (1998-99) and also had a fantastic run in the FA Cup, beating West Ham along the way.
“When we lost to Scunthorpe (May 1999) in the second leg of the (old Third Division) play-offs, I remember sitting in the changing room after the game.
“John Hollins came in and said, ‘Take this feeling you have now into next season’.
“We never mentioned that comment as a squad, but I think it’s something that spurred us all on during the following campaign.
“It was fantastic to claim the Third Division title on the final day of the (1999-2000) season at Rotherham United.”
Alsop departed Swansea for Cheltenham Town in the summer of 2000 – one of five different Football League clubs, and 17 teams overall, that he represented during his 24-year playing career.
Shortly after departing Forest Green Rovers in 2004, Alsop took an access course at college and then enrolled on a four-year degree course in accounting and financial management at the University of Gloucestershire in 2006.
His career with non-league clubs such as Tamworth, Newport County and Cirencester continued alongside his studies.
“I was a dinosaur starting out at university aged 33 while everyone else on the course was 18 or 19,” he laughs.
Alsop graduated in 2010 and then established a business called Footballers Careers which offered youngsters aged 16 to 20 the opportunity to become qualified sports coaches.
Earlier this year, he became a teaching tutor for London-based company Let Me Play, a role which sees him visit schools within an hour’s drive of his Cheltenham home to deliver staff training programmes.
“One of the main aspects of my role is to upskill teaching assistants,” explains Alsop.
“I award them with their formal teaching qualification, which is something they gain as they are doing their job.
“I also deliver a level four management programme that sees deputy heads become headteachers, while I work with 16 to 19-year-olds to train them to become PE assistants in primary schools.
“I have my level four teaching certificate in education and training. That allows me to teach in colleges or academies.
“I also have my assessor’s award and my IQA, which allows me to conduct quality assurance on the assessors.
“I’ve probably done about another 15 or 16 months of learning on top of my degree course to have the role I do today.
“I’ve been able to work while getting the qualifications, which has suited me as a family man with three daughters.”