FA Cup: Chesterfield’s Jesurun Uchegbulam on life at AC Milan and heart surgery – BBC Sport

Of all the players competing in the third round of the FA Cup this weekend, few will have experienced a journey quite as eventful as the one that led Jesurun Uchegbulam to Chesterfield.

Born in Nigeria, Uchegbulam spent several years at AC Milan’s academy and experienced playing at the San Siro, one of the most iconic stadiums in world football.

When his family moved to England, the winger had an extended trial at Everton cut short by a health scare which resulted in heart surgery at the age of 16.

“They found a cyst growing on my heart and I had very high blood pressure,” said Uchegbulam, who only turned 22 on Sunday.

“They had to cut me open and insert a tube. I was told if I didn’t get it done then I could collapse or even worse.”

Several months later, eager to play again after making a full recovery, he joined Stockport Town in the 10th tier of English football.

Uchegbulam had gone from playing at the San Siro to the North West Counties League in the space of two years.

After joining National League Chesterfield last summer following spells at Mossley and Matlock Town, he hopes to help the Spireites deliver one of this weekend’s biggest surprises when West Brom, from three leagues above, visit the non-league club.

“I’ve always told myself to get back up and keep going whenever I’ve had setbacks,” added Uchegbulam.

“Chesterfield is my first professional contract. It is a dream that I still haven’t woken up from.”

Read the full unabridged article on the BBC Sport website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/64115919

Jesurun Uchegbulam

Inside AC Milan’s famous talent factory

Uchegbulam was born in Lagos and grew up in Italy after his parents, Donatus and Gloria, moved to Venice when he was one.

He was seven when he secured a place in AC Milan’s academy, one of the world’s most famous talent factories whose graduates include Paolo Maldini, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Uchegbulam recalls one particular season when he scored more than 100 goals for the under-13s while playing as a centre-back.

“We’d have 50 to 55 games each season and we used to play against the likes of Roma under-13s and beat them 14-0,” he said.

“At Milan, I always played in teams at least two years above my age. When I was 14, I was playing for the under-17s.”

On his experience of playing at the San Siro, Uchegbulam added: “We played Inter Milan in a youth team fixture which we lost.

“There was quite a big crowd. Because I was so young, it was just like walking out onto any other pitch.

“Now I’m older I get goosebumps walking out to play for Chesterfield.

“Back then I didn’t pay too much attention to nerves or anything like that. I just wanted to get on the pitch and have fun.”

Uchegbulam’s dream of making it at AC Milan, the seven-time champions of Europe, did not last and after his parents lost their jobs, the family moved to England in search of a better life.

It was not long, however, before the player was reeling from another setback.

Read the full unabridged article on the BBC Sport website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/64115919

An insight into the football agents’ world from Gino Culbertson

An insight into the football agents’ world from Gino Culbertson

Gino Culbertson is a football agent who fell out of love with the game after becoming “disillusioned” with the murky world of the football industry. He spoke to VAVEL UK about his journey into the game, the politics behind the agency vortex and his new venture with Pro-Vision Football.

Football agents are everywhere to be seen in today’s modern game; a transfer can sometimes involve a number of agents, some for the buying club, a handful for the selling club and then possibly an agent or two for the players themselves.

In 2015, FIFA changed the agency rules meaning anyone and everyone had the opportunity to apply to become a football agent. Prior to 2015, there had been around 500 registered agents in the United Kingdom, but by 2018, the figure was somewhere between 3000-4000 FA registered intermediaries.

Becoming a football agent has never been so popular. It seems that whilst some play the pantomime villain in the elaborate show that is the modern football world, agents are an integral part of keeping the production running.

Read the full article here: https://www.vavel.com/an-insight-into-the-football-agents-world-from-ginoculbertson.html

Gino Culbertson pictured on the right

How Culbertson got into the agency game

“I am an original FIFA agent, I passed the FIFA panel back in 2000. This was when you had to pass the panel and put a £100,000 bond up in Zurich. There were only about 40-45 of us (agents) back in those days, and instead of the FA and FIFA making it more difficult for people to become agents, they made it easier. It has allowed a lot of people to come into the industry for the wrong reasons. In fact around 85% of agents don’t do any deals and now to become an agent/Intermediary, you pay £500 and say that you are a fit person.”

“My background was finance and banking, but I love football and a lifelong fan of Juventus, having spent time with what is regarded as their greatest ever team in the early eighties, and the nucleus of the winning World Cup squad in 1982. My son-in-law was a World Champion Motocross rider and he had lots of contacts in Derby.  He just said to me one day,” With your passion for football and your background and my contacts, why don’t we start up an agency?”

“I crammed for six months, learning all the FIFA statutes and regulations. I was based in London so I was driving down to London at 5am every morning and I just taped all the information on cassette tapes, and I would listen to them on the eight hour journey every day.” He adds,” Eventually I got my license and we started at Derby County. I had about nine players there and I am the only agent to have five players that came through the youth team and all played together in the first team. The BBC also did a documentary on me some years ago following me for a week and showing as they put it, ‘a good agent’ looking after his players.”

Read the full article here: https://www.vavel.com/an-insight-into-the-football-agents-world-from-ginoculbertson.html



Pro-Vision Football: A day in the life of a football agent

News article on the Birmingham Live website: The inside story on the Midlands agency that continues to make footballers’ dreams come true

“A Midlands-based football agent is on a mission to broaden the pathway for footballers looking to progress into the Football League while also providing continued support to his ever-improving young stars.

Gino Culbertson, who is a part of Pro-vision Football, aims to promote local talent and assist players who are keen to progress out of the non-league circuit.

Put simply, the goal is to help clients achieve their dreams and the early success has been impressive.

Already with an established stable of league players under their arm, the team at Pro-vision Football Agency continue to maximise opportunities for their players.

But it’s not just the satisfaction of watching them develop and achieve their dreams of professional football.

Gino’s focus is to ‘bring credibility back to the agency scene’ after expressing his disdain at the way some of his peers now operate.

It is not Agents who get the players moves, but the players own ability and potential. Agents are there to raise their profile and exposure, create opportunities for them, plus support, guide and advise them 24/7.”