CURTIS Woodhouse has revealed he harbours hopes of becoming Sheffield United manager one day.
When the former Blades player hung up his boots six years ago to embark on a career in boxing, Woodhouse said he had fallen out of love with the beautiful game and had no intention of going back into the sport.
However, after spending last season coaching Blue Square Premier side Lincoln City, the 32-year-old now finds himself the boss of the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC, and is enjoying every moment of his new role.
“Football management has given me my hunger back,” he told The Star. “Standing on the touchline, I have butterflies in my stomach, my heart is pounding – the last time I had that feeling was probably when I made my debut for United when I was 17.”
Light-welterweight Woodhouse faces Derby’s Dave Ryan at Rotherham’s Magna Centre tomorrow night bidding to become an English champion for the first time.
“When I started off as a boxer it was my aim to be British Champion and everybody laughed at me,” he admitted. “As a football manager, I would like to manage Sheffield United one day. Everybody’s laughed at me again, but those are my ambitions – I set them high and always try my very best to achieve them.
“I’m fiercely ambitious and want to go as high as I possibly can. If that’s with Sheffield FC, then fantastic. But if a league club came in for me and offered me the manager’s job, it wouldn’t be something I could just say no to straight away.”
Does he, then, regard football management as merely a job?
“I see playing and managing as two completely different things,” said Woodhouse. “If Manchester United rang me up tomorrow and asked me to play for them, it would not appeal to me whatsoever. But if they offered me the job as manager, I’d definitely be interested!
“I played at such a competitive standard from the age of 12 – every Saturday was a must win game. By the time I got to 22, I’d pretty much had enough. Because I said I fell out of love with football, people assume that includes the management side.
“I had no interest in football management up until I first started off at Lincoln. Once I started coaching the lads, I found it really rewarding.”
Woodhouse, who has won 16 of his 20 professional boxing bouts, is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Ryan.
“He said he’s going to knock me out, but we’ll see about that,” says Woodhouse with a wry smile – but he insists he doesn’t mind juggling his commitments as a boxer and manager.
“I train at 7am, then 3.30pm in the afternoon and I come to football in the evening,” he added. “It’s non-stop, but I’m very privileged to be doing those two things.”