Coach held up as example to others

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A FOOTBALL lover from Sheffield who turned his life around after descending into alcohol abuse has been mixing with the stars at an event to inspire the next generation.

Andy Gibbon was dropped from his job at a football club and then fired from a coaching position after he was caught carrying a knife by police.

But he was determined to work in the industry he loved and, after contacting the Prince’s Trust, he was given a low interest loan and a mentor which enabled him to set up his own business.

He now runs Star Strikers which provides football coaching to children in Sheffield.

Andy was invited to the event called Against the Odds as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. He met pop stars Alesha Dixon, Tinie Tempah and Mark Ronson and actress Brooke Kinsella.

Andy, aged 25, said: “I know what it’s like to wake up in the morning feeling like you’ve got no hope for the future. I am living proof it is possible for young people across Sheffield to turn their lives around.

“I was proud to be involved in this amazing event. All of the ambassadors were so real and down to earth. They inspired a lot of people to keep going and stay positive.”

The day also included a question and answer session with other young people, and was organised by the trust and HSBC bank.

Andy secured an apprenticeship with a football club after leaving school but was made redundant and sank into a spiral of drinking every night.

He was attacked by a stranger with a knife on a night out, and later began to carry a knife for his own protection.

After working in a warehouse, Andy found a job in football coaching but was stopped by the police who found the knife and he lost his job again.

He said: “Since getting in touch with the Trust and setting up my own business, I have never looked back. I’m so grateful for the help, trust and support they gave me. They were with me all the way.”