Tom Statham and Tony Whelan have a combined 60 plus years coaching and leading the young players in Manchester United’s Academy. Tony started out there as a schoolboy, eventually signing professional terms and playing for Man United, Manchester City, and in the US in the old NASL. He has been at United since 1990 in a coaching capacity, Head of Academy Coaching, and currently in an advisory role. With experience working under managers from Sir Matt Busby to Sir Alex Ferguson, Tony is deeply rooted in the history and culture of United, and has guided hundreds of players from the youth ranks to the pros.

Tom Statham is a long time friend of the podcast, and has been with Manchester United for nearly 30 years, currently working with the U9-U11s. Current Manchester United players such as Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay all started as young players with Tom and other coaches at the Cliff, United’s legendary training ground.

In our conversation today, we dive deeply into the history of the club, and the vital importance of youth coaches in protracting the childhood of our young athletes. We discuss being a life coach first, and a sport coach second. And we talk about the massive impact we can have on the lives of our young athletes on and off the field. This is a very special conversation for me, and reaffirms my belief that our influence is never neutral.


Today’s Podcast is brought to you by the 2021 Way of Champions Conference. The conference videos have been made into an online course and are now available here: Click Here to Learn More. This includes sessions with Steve Kerr, Brad Stevens, Cindy Timchal, Jenny Levy, George Mumford, Tara VanDerveer, and Quin Snyder along with Anson Dorrance. It is hours of top level coach education on connecting with your athletes, building your culture, and winning the “Inner Game.”

This week’s podcast is also brought to you by our friends at Sports Refund. Many of you probably buy trip insurance, every winter I buy ski pass insurance, to make sure that if I get injured I can get my money back on that expensive investment. Well, many of us spend thousands of dollars on our kids sports club fees, but what if they get hurt? In many cases you cannot get your money back, but now with Sports Refund you can. And it’s not just for long term broken bones or torn ligaments. It is only a 14 day waiting period, so you even get a refund if you roll that ankle or pull a hammy! For just pennies on the dollar, you can make sure that if your child gets sick or injured and misses a month or more you can get your money back, or your club can get paid. It’s a great product, just go to and get your free quote, and if it sounds good you can either get your club to sign up, or you can purchase on your own. 

Become a Podcast Champion! This weeks podcast is also sponsored by our Patreon Podcast Champions. Help Support the Podcast and get FREE access to our most popular online courses, a $300 value. If you love the podcast, we would love for you to become a Podcast Champion, ( for as little as a cup of coffee per month (OK, its a Venti Mocha), to help us up the ante and provide even better interviews, better sound, and an overall enhanced experience. Plus, as a $10 per month Podcast Super-Champion, you will have access to never before released and bonus material, including:

  • Downloadable transcripts of our best podcasts, so you don’t have to crash your car trying to take notes!
  • A code to get free access to our online course called “Coaching Mastery,” usually a $97 course, plus four other courses worth over $100, all yours for free for becoming a patron.
  • Other special bonus opportunities that come up time to time
  • Access to an online community of coaches like you who are dedicated listeners of the podcast, and will be able to answer your questions and share their coaching experiences.

Thank you for all your support these past four years, and a special big thank you to all of you who become part of our inner circle, our patrons, who will enable us to take our podcast to the next level.


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