He’s got the knowledge as a taxi driver and the fighting spirit as a black belt holder in karate, so there’s no doubting that new Hoddesdon Town boss John Field brings enthusiasm and ambition to the job as he seeks to push the Lilywhites up the non-league football strata.
This 43-year old black cab driver has knowledge not only of the streets of London but also of the beautiful game, as well as varied experience in and out of football.
But first a bit of history: John Field was born in 1971, and has been a London hackney badge holder since 2003. In fact taxis run through his blood: altogether there are ten cab drivers in the family, including his dad Harry who’s been a taxi driver for 42 years and still has his badge; also his older brother Tony. And John’s twin brother Steven is currently training for the Knowledge, which he is sitting in another 18 months’ time.
John starts his working day in Canary Wharf, and drives “everywhere in London” for his customers. Off-duty, John has always been football mad: he is a fervent Arsenal supporter, and previously played himself for Rainham Town before progressing into management.
He managed at Harold Hill, where he joined up with West Ham coach Ricki Shelvey to lead them to promotion to the premier division of the Essex Olympian Football League. John has now joined Hoddesdon after a spell managing Grays Athletic’s U21 team.
John draws inspiration from fellow cabbie Terry Spillane, who took over Stansted – who play on the same level as Hoddesdon. John said: “I am a good man manager; I draw inspiration from what Terry did. He is a good friend of mine and said he can help with players.”
John Field is ambitious both on and off the pitch: his new role is a natural progression. “I want us to get up the table as high as we can this season, and really have a go next year. I was really pleased to get the job. I was told there were two or three really good people who went for it.”
Players will not want to cross John, who is a second dan black belt in karate, but the Lilywhites boss prides himself on his man management skills, and his eyes are on the long term. “I now believe this is the next step in my progression for both myself and this club...The attitude of the players has been good. The club want to go up and I want to get into the Ryman League. I am ambitious and hungry.
“I will work as hard as I can. I want the club to progress and the people at the club have been very friendly and helpful.”
John approaches his day job with the same amount of enthusiasm, even after twelve years. Any unusual fares? Well, there was the time he picked up two exceedingly small dwarves, who were dressed in some sort of German outfits, and took them to Cirque Le Soir Club in London’s Ganton Street. This venue is noted for collecting guests of all shapes and sizes, usually dressed up in fancy dress.
John remembers that when these two slight-statured passengers got to their destination they struggled to reach through the partition hatch to pay him... then they proceeded to “roll out of the taxi”. Oh well, it takes all sorts..... Meanwhile, we shall watch with interest to see how Hoddesdon’s Lilywhites progress under John Field’s capable management.