STEVE Prescott loved playing for his hometown team and in his autobiography he describes his elation at signing – but he never forgot the support he had along the way.
In this excerpt he talks about how he overcame the doubters.
People always told me that I was too small for such a high-impact, big collision sport as rugby but it never stopped me from playing and succeeding. In fact, the doubters just made me more determined to prove them wrong.
I had a few games for the Saints Under 18s, but one game at Knowsley Road against the strong Wigan Academy featuring Jason Robinson at stand off sticks out.
I played on the wing but my opposite number, Mike Neal, was much more developed than me. He tried to knock me off my game with some old school sledging by shouting across, Prescott, I’m going to kill you! It frightened me to be honest. Sure enough, when I got the ball on the wing he man-handled me into touch and I fell awkwardly, breaking my collar bone.
After a year playing at the Academy, Frank Barrow, who was in charge of the Saints A team, asked me to have a trial. But after playing a few games as an AN Other, Saints told me they did not want to sign me. Once again they believed me to be too small to make it.
After facing rejection you have just got to get your head up, get on with things, knuckle down and try to make it somewhere else. Looking back I believe all these incidents made me a mentally stronger person and moulded the person I am today.
However, I have to thank coach Frank Barrow for persuading the board at Saints to give me another go. Frank had been a good full-back in his day and must have seen some potential in me.
Still, the Saints board needed some convincing about what I was capable of, and it took Frank’s genuine offer to pay my contract out of his own money to swing it.
He really fought for me over this when others had doubts, and I will always be really grateful to him for that.”
Order Steve Prescott’s One in a Million from spfund.co.uk, £17.99.