During the hustle and bustle that comes with a season in the ever-competitive Danske Bank Premiership, keeping players fit and healthy can be the difference between success and failure. In this edition of ‘Why I Love Larne’, we speak with Simon Paine, who is the club’s Sports Massage Therapist.
What’s your name and what is your role at Larne Football Club?
My name is Simeon Paine, although my nickname within the first team is Simone which was probably given to me by Tim McCann, but most people will call me Simon. I am the Sports Massage Therapist at Larne and I also work in the Analyst Team collecting possession data.
What do you do within your role on a daily basis at the club?
I work part-time with the first team, so I see them on matchdays and during holidays. During the holidays I will provide treatments to the players before, after and during training sessions.
With matchdays being different, what would you do for a home game at Inver Park?
On a matchday, I work with a variety of people. My main team to work with would be the medical team of Michael O’Boyle, Joe Crawford and Niall Perry, who are the Physios and Club Doctor. I give the players pre-match treatments which are about 10 minutes in duration each. We start these ‘prep’ treatments about 2 hours before kick-off, that way I can treat as many players as possible before they go out for the warm-up on the pitch. At half-time, I can sometimes be called to treat a player who has an area of tightness which has flared up during the first half, this type of treatment is an ‘intra-event’ massage. After the match I will provide post-match treatments to players, these are longer and last about 20 minutes. The aim of this treatment is mainly to flush out lactic acid that has built-in muscles as a by-product of exercise, to reduce the risk of injury, the reduction of tightness in muscles and to return the athlete’s nervous system to normal. During the match, I work with Andrew Woodside, the Team Analyst. I assist him by collecting data on the team’s performance, with my responsibility being to collect possession data.
How did you get involved with Larne Football Club?
I got involved with the club initially as a volunteer coach with Larne Youth. I was completing a Sports Massage Therapy course at Belfast Metropolitan College when I was asked by Tiernan Lynch if I would like to gain experience working with professional sportsmen, and of course, I readily agreed. That was in January 2019, and at the time I came in and assisted Joe Crawford, who was then the lone Physiotherapist. It turned out to be a great season as we won the Bluefin Sport Championship title.
Do you have another job outside of the club?
Outside of football I am a Teacher and have been one since 1994.
Do you find it easy to manage your other commitments along with your role at the club, how do you do it?
I’m a person who likes to be on the go, so my main job, my Youth coaching and working with the first team gives me a busy, interesting and dynamic lifestyle. Since we moved from England I have slowly but surely slipped into a very active and outdoor lifestyle. I live in Larne so I am literally minutes away from the places I work at and after living in Birmingham and London this no commute lifestyle is something like heaven.
And finally, why do you love the club and what motivates you to carry out your role at Larne Football Club?
My very first experience of Larne FC was in 1997 when my brother-in-law took me to my first home game. They became my team in Northern Ireland, my main team at that time would have been Aston Villa. But since we moved to Larne, Larne FC is my main team, I’m still Villa though. Since 1997 it has been great to see the Club build momentum and but for the current situation we are in now, we should have been entering a European competition in the 2020/21 season. This goal is one of the driving factors that keep me motivated by working with the whole club. There is a nostalgia and familiarity about Inver Park, the first team and the academy. It is a great accessible and family-driven club, not just among club staff but also the supporters and people of Larne. This backing from the townsfolk always spurs you on as the club is part of the fortunes of the town, just like Barca, Larne FC are “Mes que un club!” Maybe one day we’ll meet in Europe.