I had the pleasure last night of standing in a 21st birthday celebration for Liam Palmer, Sheffield Wednesday player and currently on loan at Tranmere Rovers. While standing chatting with my wife and Liam’s mum I was reflecting on his journey from Worksop lad to professional footballer.

I met Liam at St Augustine’s Junior School when I took up a post as class teacher and he was in my class. The first thing you notice is the boy was clever and worked hard in all lessons. I mean all. He was well behaved and did not put a foot wrong in school.

I was given the job of running the football team and I had never done it before. The journey really started for me at this point. We had an approach as a team where we believed we were the best around the town and the County. We were! The question is why?

Liam was busy at the Sheffield Wednesday Academy and we knew that we would need to ensure we did not interfere with that. Liam and his parents were very supportive of our school and he would sometimes play the first half for us and he would have to leave for Wednesday training. We would be three up by the time it came to half time.

He did not miss our training sessions and he was always very humble and encouraged all of his team mates too. We would prepare for games by blasting out Should I stay or Should I go by the clash. We had kids shaking the school fence shouting come on Oggy’s as the visiting team would arrive. It was terrifying for them and we loved it.

Liam Palmer showed traits and values then that he cherishes now and that is what sets him a part from your stereotypical football type. He worked hard, played with a smile on his face and he lived clean.

I have asked Liam to come to my school to talk to children or present awards. He always finds time and is great with our kids in school. they love it when he comes to school because he is one of them. They relate to his background.

When we trained the team we played in all weather. I remember going to Carr Hill and we were 2-0 down. The weather turned horrible and Palmer brought the boys to life. We won 9-2. A great victory.

Liam’s parents played a massive part in his success. They kept him grounded and focussed but gave him the opportunity to pursue his dream. We need more parents to be inspired by their example. They helped nurture a belief in him that meant he was determined and very driven to do well.

I watched Liam surrounded by his friends last night and he has not changed at all. His values are cast iron and he is a tough, determined character. To date, in footballing terms I have never seen a kid like him, his balance and grace were a delight to watch. He would be going left past you and you would have it covered, only to see him dip his shoulder and go right past you with ease. Simply a gift!

Liam Palmer is currently getting rave reviews at Tranmere and the danger for Wednesday fans is that it is a shop window. What ever happens to be his club this man will give his all and win the hearts of all fans. on a personal level…I hope Mike Ashley buys him and takes him to Newcastle. I have my fingers crossed! mr Palmer is clean, hard working and destined to be massive. I can safely say I am not his number one fan but I come close behind his mum and dad! Go Palmer!!