By Joe Priestley

It’s one of the most critical jobs in any football team. Without access to proper medical knowledge, players would be at increased and serious risk of problems, which can not only ruin a team’s season but a player’s career. I spoke to Guiseley’s Sports Therapist, Ashley Proctor, to gain an insight into a job that is very prevalent, but very rarely gets the limelight.

Ash said: “My job role is Club Sports Therapist, responsible for all things medical for the first team and academy Under-19s team. The younger lads also have access to see me once a week if they are struggling with any injuries.

“This is my full-time job.”

Those that know Ash at Guiseley will be very well aware he isn’t a local lad. However, he did tell me: “I love the club. It’s no secret that I am from Morecambe and always look out for the Morecambe results.

“However, Guiseley has been a massive part of my life for the last three/four seasons, so it’s impossible not to grow attached. I’ll celebrate a last-minute winner as much as a fan – usually with Adie Towers!

“Everyone at the club, from the management, players, fans, volunteers, are a credit to the club. It is a special club for those reasons.”

Ash spoke about mixing his passion for sport and football with his exam options, but one thing stood out about Ash. It wasn’t as simple as that was his job, he was passionate about the team, and you could tell from the way he spoke about the team that he was a key part of the well-oiled machine that is doing so well this year. And that’s what non-league football is all about in a nutshell; passion, hard work and community spirit.

“I love working for the football club; no better feeling than three points on a Saturday/Tuesday! All the players, staff and fans are great as well, which helps massively.”

But I had to ask him the burning question. If you’ve ever been to a football game you’ve seen the physio run onto the pitch, but is it as daunting as it seems?

He explained: “At first it was very nerve-wracking, as previously I hadn’t been exposed to crowds more than 50-odd. My first game for the first team was away at Eastleigh in the National League, and there was about 3000 there.

“After doing it a few times, though, I’ve got accustomed to it.”

Ash’s attachment to the club and his level-headedness have clearly aided him in times of stress or difficulty, and without him, the team would not be able to manage. It’s a brief insight into a very important job that is a lot more than running on with a magic spray.

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