RON Tilsed's football journey has taken him to most corners of the world from Arsenal's historic Highbury to Sutherland's Seymour Shaw.
The Sutherland Sharks goalkeeper coach has seen and done just about everything in a lifetime in the game and at 62 is showing no signs of slowing down.
Tilsed, a former Arsenal, Portsmouth and England youth team keeper, began coaching at Sutherland seven years ago and has helped nurture some of the most promising goalkeepers in the country.
The Englishman boasts both current Australian Olyroos and Young Socceroos No. 1s, Jack Duncan and Tom Glover, as products of his coaching and said he was passionate about giving back to the game.
"I probably didn't achieve what I should have done in my career," he said.
"I was an England keeper at a very young age and should have gone on with it. I was a bit naive and a bit silly.
"I feel now I'm giving back something.
"In Australia there is such a great reputation for goalkeepers. The crossbar has been set — if you like — with [Mark] Schwarzer around the world.
"Wherever you go around the world they think highly of Australian keepers."
Tilsed said he felt fortunate to have Duncan and Glover as proteges.
"You can go a lifetime in coaching and not find one like them," he said.
He said he was pleased to be ‘‘lucky enough to have played an important role in the careers of Jack and Tommy’’.
‘‘To help discover them and coincidently both in the shire, right in our backyard if you like.
‘‘It’s a small world when you see those boys out in the big world of football.
‘‘I couldn’t be prouder of them and the hard work they’ve put in.’’
Tilsed came to Australia in the late 1970s through his best mate and Australian football royalty, Johnny Warren.
The pair remained close until Warren’s death in 2004.
After his playing days Tilsed moved to the shire with his wife and began his coaching career. Tilsed can even credit an endorsement from Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeping legend Pat Jennings.
‘‘When Tommy Glover left to go to Tottenham one of the best bits of feedback I ever had was from Pat,’’ Tilsed said.
‘‘He told Tommy whoever coached you in Australia has held you in good stead to come to England.
‘‘Basically I’ve spent the last seven years with the development squads right up to first grade.
‘‘My first grade keeper Nathan Denham has consistently been one of the best in the competition in that time and a lot of the kids look up to him. He sets a good example.
‘‘I introduced really old- fashioned drills that I learnt from Bob Wilson at Arsenal and Peter Shilton with England.
‘‘To really make it you can’t just be a shot-stopper any more. You’ve got to be able to play with your feet and distribute well and handle crosses and high balls.’’
Tilsed will hold his annual three-day school holiday Sutherland Sharks goalkeeper camp on July 7 to 9 at Seymour Shaw Park. Miranda.
Details: Ron Tilsed, 0400203422, or Nathan Denham, 0404160153.