Wembley football coach who launched career of Liverpool player Raheem Sterling is booted out of his job
- Credit: Archant
A school football coach who launched the careers of numerous top players including England star Raheem Sterling has been booted out of his job.
Paul Lawrence will leave Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, Wembley, at Christmas after his role was axed as part of a swathe of redundancies across non-teaching positions.
The 53-year-old, who grew up in Kilburn, joined the school in 1993 and has been heralded for his success in moulding students into sporting stars.
In addition to 19-year-old Liverpool ace Raheem, Mr Lawrence’s prodigies also include Kerrea Gilbert (Arsenal, Shamrock Rovers), Teejay Duncan (Luton Town), Kameron English (Watford), Tyrell Miller-Rodney (Brentford), Reece Mitchell (Chelsea under-21s, England under-18s), Dean Sylvester (Chelsea, QPR, Harrow) and Andrew Whorms (Barnet).
The father-of-two, who went to St Augustine’s School in Kilburn, said: “It has been an incredible 20 years and every one of my pupils feel like they are my son.
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“It makes me feel so proud when they are signed up and go on to do bigger and better things.”
In February this year Raheem, who grew up on the St Raphael’s Estate in Neasden, made an impromptu visit to see Mr Lawrence.
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“It’s great that no matter how big they become they keep in touch with me and will pop in to say hello when they are in the area,” Mr Lawrence said.
“My job isn’t just teaching them about how to behave on the pitch but how to behave when they are not on it too.
“I hope that something else will come up for me as I enjoy teaching football.”
As the school’s only football coach his departure means his role will now have to be filled by the school’s full-time PE teachers.
Mr Lawrence added: “I hope the school can still keep producing great players.”
Before becoming a coach Mr Lawrence was a musician in the lovers rock band Natural Mystic who had a hit with Runaway Love in the 1980s.
“If I don’t get a job in sports I might return to music but who knows,” he said.