A MEMBER of Oxford United’s backroom staff has launched a new venture which will see the worlds of football and the military combine.

Chris Short, who works in the sports science team at United, has launched army training camps for use by professional football clubs.

The camps will aim to motivate players, while improving team-bonding and leadership skills.

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Short, who played for the likes of Notts County, Sheffield United and Stoke City, said: “I went to go speak to the army in Chilwell in Nottingham, and from there I met a couple of the lads who are in the forces and we decided there was some sort of opportunity for professional football teams to visit camps and experience what it would be like to be a soldier.

“I work at Oxford four days a week so it gives me the opportunity to pursue other things and it’s something I’m interested in.

“I’ve been to army camps before and seen what it’s like as an ex-player.

“There’s a huge amount of good that comes out of them.

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“Everyone now talks about recruitment of players but recruitment of people is probably the most important thing.

“If you get the right people on board, you’ve got a great chance.

“Clearly you need ability but there’s an ability about being a good person and working hard, and this is one way to actually find out it they can do that.

“The values of resilience, robustness, working hard and team spirit are fundamental to any successful business.

“People are looking at that now and this is one way to try and find out what people are like.”

Short, whose older brother Craig is one of the first team coaches at the U’s, was unable to disclose what clubs he will work with initially but is confident he can use his connections within the game to get the scheme off the ground.

He said “I’ve been in the game for 32 years so the list is extensive and my contacts are extensive.

“I’m just at the moment trying to get it out there to those people.”

The 53-year-old added: “It was a bit nerve-racking when I went to the barracks in Chilwell, and spoke to about 40 or 50 people about the pressure of professional football and of being an elite athlete.

“It’s all relative because I was talking to people there that have served in Afghanistan or Iraq, so who am I to talk to them about pressure?

“I was very mindful of that but also mindful of the fact there’s similarities because if you don’t have loyalty, trust or leadership in your group, then you’ve got no chance.

“It was great to see what the army do and how they incorporate leadership and team-building.”

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here: https://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/newsletters/

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.