One of the Zoom guests at Jordan Armstrong’s Soccer Hub was former Liverpool FC physio Andy Renshaw, who told Professional Player about his route to the top
For players who are coming towards the end of their careers, or who have sadly had their careers cut short, physiotherapy is an excellent way to stay involved in the game – but it’s not as easy as some believe.
I completed a sports science degree and in my final year worked voluntarily for Sheffield United, assisting the first-team fitness coach on a sessional basis, to gain my first experience of a professional football environment.
From there I started a part-time physiotherapy degree whilst working full-time in a gym and part-time voluntary at Manchester Rugby Club, who were then in rugby’s equivalent of football’s Championship. Here I gained experience working with their physiotherapist, whilst also preparing individual rehab/fitness programmes.
‘It was an amazing time to be a part of that football club; the staff were brilliant and the manager was unreal’
I did that for two nights a week and the game at weekends – it was a busy time! After starting my degree, I wrote to all professional football clubs in the country and received two letters back – one from Rick Parry at Liverpool and the other from David Dein at Arsenal. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from Chris Sulley at Bolton Wanderers saying
they had an opening. After a series of interviews – one ran by the manager Sam Allardyce – I was offered the job.
It was an amazing time to be a part of that football club; the staff were brilliant and the manager was unreal in the way he supported us. In terms of sports science, we were always up for trying different things and squeezing that extra bit out of every player. In my first six weeks, I was given Jay-Jay Okocha and Ivan Campo to work with – it was just phenomenal for me to be given that trust.
Sam created a culture where you wanted to fight for everything together – and I believe that’s a key component in why we were so successful and went on to play in Europe. Within a couple of years, the club was signing players like Fernando Hierro, Gary Speed and Nicolas Anelka – we had many top-class international players, but they were also top-class people.
I worked with the Bolton first team from 2007-2009 until I was asked to go to Liverpool FC to help head up their new Academy medical/sports science department. It was an offer I simply couldn’t refuse; to be asked by a club of that stature, and to work with Frank McParland and Dave Galley was a tremendous honour.
The Academy expanded during my time at the club to a total of five full-time physios, one half-time and 15 or 16 part-time staff to cover all Sunday games and evening training sessions.
‘Today, I have my own business rehabilitating athletes, predominantly footballers. I run the business from the Harris & Ross Physiotherapy Clinic’
I then took a call from Jurgen Klopp who asked me to be his new head of the first-team physiotherapy – I wasn’t going to say no to that either! I absolutely loved every minute of my time there. It was always going to be intense, always going to be a challenge, but our results as a set of staff in terms of reducing injuries were proven during that first season.
Today, I have my own business rehabilitating athletes, predominantly footballers. I run the business from the Harris & Ross Physiotherapy Clinic in Total Fitness, Wilmslow, Cheshire, and see players from the UK and abroad.
I try to ensure that I work alongside clubs to provide a swift yet safe return to play for their players.
This helps to maintain a positive relationship between all parties. It has gone very, very well and the flexibility in the role has allowed me to do some consultancy work with Newcastle United for a few days a week this season. I’m proud of everything I have experienced so far, but my family time is also very important for me now, and football does affect this from time to time. It would take something very special to make me return to football in a full-time capacity – but I’d never say never!
If you’d like to book an appointment with Andy, please contact him via Instagram/Twitter @andyrphysio or visit harrisandross.co.uk for more information