Now at Enfield Town, former PASE captain George Beattie is a huge advocate of the academy and what it can offer young footballers.
During his time with the club, Beattie was handed the number 19 shirt, before playing the full 90 minutes against Watford in the Semi-final of the Herts Senior Cup, describing it as an unforgettable experience.
The midfielder recalled: “Luke Garrard gave me a squad number the night before we played Watford in the cup.
“That has got to be my career highlight. Seeing that first top printed, I remember that Luke text me while I was on lunch and when I came back to the club he was just holding it up.
“I cannot even describe that feeling, I have got the top framed on my wall and it will stay with me forever.
“I travelled with the squad a few times to Dover Athletic and Braintree Town, however I never really broke into the side. But, I was training full time with the first team and doing my education, it was a really good experience.”
The young midfielder joined PASE as a 16-year-old and went on to become captain of the reserves, the under 19s and the under 18s.
However, as his time at PASE came to an end, Beattie was determined to break into men’s football and dropped down into the Spartan Prem, with St Margaretsbury.
“As a season, it was tough because were in a relegation battle, but individually I had a positive campaign, and when I look at how it has made me mature, I think that I needed that experience to progress.
“I now know what it is like to be involved in that sort of battle and I know what is needed to get out of that zone. As an individual, I think that I done quite well, obviously to have gotten a move I must have done okay, but I scored a couple of goals, I played every game and got a few assists as well.
“It was really tough at the time and team moral was at an all-time low, but that is when you need the more experienced players and the skilful players to step up and show what they can do and pull things out of the bag.”
St Margaretsbury would go onto survive by the skin of their teeth, and Beattie had made a lasting impression, earning himself a move to Enfield Town shortly after.
He explained: “I first heard of the interest from Enfield when their manager called me, obviously having Boreham Wood on your CV is huge, and they knew that I had some experience with the first team which helped a lot.
“He basically just said that he wanted to give me and chance and that he had seen that I had played every game and chipped in with a couple of goals and assists.
“I went in at pre-season and just showed how fit I was, and I think that he signed me within two weeks, so it was quite quick. I didn’t expect it to happen that fast, but as I said, I kept my head down and worked really hard.”
With Beattie still at a young age, he admits that he faces a fight to win his shirt this season, but having been involved in the previous two matches, he is excited for the battle ahead.
PASE provides young footballers with an opportunity to shine, alongside an education, and Beattie explained that without PASE, he wouldn’t be where he is today.
He continued: “For me, it is now about getting the starting top, getting that shirt that I want and being better than the person that is in my position currently. It is a work in progress, but I am still young and I am just waiting for my chance and I will hopefully show them what I can do.
“I can’t even begin to describe how much PASE has helped me as an individual, obviously doing my A levels was really, really good as well, to have those A levels is a really good backup.
“The training at PASE, because it is so frequent and constant, you just get better and better. And being around hungry, young footballers, who want to progress in the game is just such a healthy environment to be involved in and that is exactly what Boreham Wood is all about, it has just helped me massively, I can’t even begin to describe it.”
Beattie praised the trust and encouragement offered to you at PASE by the coaches, many of whom are professional footballers at the club.
However, he reserved the highest admiration for Wood manager Luke Garrard, who is also the manager of the academy. It was Garrard who entrusted him with the captaincy.
Beattie recalled: “To hear first-hand from Luke, who knows so much about the game, that he wanted me to be captain, was massive. I loved the responsibility and it allowed me to encourage the boys all the time.
“Being captain you are there first, you leave last and you do extra training and for me, it just made me hungrier, I wanted more and that hasn’t stopped since.
“The captaincy has set me up massively, it gave me the opportunity to show people that I can be a leader and it helped me when I made the transition to men’s football.”
Beattie completed A Levels in English Literature, Sociology and Film while at Boreham Wood, as well as completing his Level 2 Personal Training qualification.
Having come out with three C’s in his A Levels, Beattie has a backup if his footballing dream doesn’t become a reality, however he admits that it remains his greatest goal.
“I loved doing my A Levels alongside my football and my rota married up to my footballing schedule. So, I didn’t have to miss any training sessions and I was able to do extra education. Being at the club was so helpful for me in so many ways and it was ideal for my situation.
“At the minute, I am taking it step-by-step, but I would love to become pro in the future, I would love to be full time, that is my ultimate goal. But, at the minute it is just about getting experience, trying to make a name for myself and to slowly climb up and hope for the best.”
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