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League Two Spotlight These players are less detached from the normal man on the street. Their head is not in the clouds and they are more aware of the world around them and the people who occupy it. They tend to be the ones who have had to work the hardest to get where they are, with blood, sweat and tears shed en route to the professional ranks. It is often the case that they have the most colourful stories to tell as well, with their livelihood having had to be earned rather than spoon fed to them off a silver platter. Occasionally these tales can really capture the imagination and it is apparent that those who grace the terraces every week are not always fully aware of quite what it takes to become a sportsman or woman. For some the road which leads to the very top can be an arduous one, with crossroads often leading off in an illogical direction, forcing you to travel a lot further than you originally intended. This adventure can lead to unexpected opportunities, though, and experiences you never thought possible. CultureJust ask Alistair Slowe, a man who has gone from Brighton to Northampton via Ghana and Cyprus. Having decided to give his full attention to his school studies rather than his football while on the books at Brighton, does he regret having missed that particular boat? "You obviously regret it a bit because by now I would have had more chance of being higher than I am if I had stayed and continued at Brighton," he said. "But in a way you don t regret it, because if I hadn t left Brighton at the time I did then I probably wouldn t have gone and played in Ghana and have had all the experience and met all the people. I probably wouldn t have gone to Cyprus either and wouldn t have had the chance to experience a different way of playing. "I have played in two countries that most English players don t play in and it has been a ugg caspia boots really good experience, learning the difficult cultures." Slowe certainly has strayed off the beaten track, but how did he end up moving to Ghana as an 18 year old? He said: "My dad had a football contact over in Ghana and he asked if I could go over for a trial. They said yes. That went well and I was able to get into the team, so that s how Ghana came about." While in Africa, Slowe was determined to throw himself head first into the experience and took the time out to take in a spot of coaching with Cantonments youngsters. CoachingOn that decision, he said: "They had a youth team and obviously I played for the senior side. I really just went to help coaching. We used to train in the mornings so in the afternoons I didn t really have anything to do. I offered to help with the coaching side of things. "It also allowed me to get more involved with the community and meet more people so you feel more at home more quickly. "I still keep an eye on how they are getting on and some of the players call me quite regularly. They have just been promoted from the third division to the second division, so that s good. They won their league this year, so I still keep an eye on them." Having been in a position to see first hand just what African football has to offer, does Slowe believe that the continent remains something of an untapped well? "You do get a lot of good, skilful youngsters out there," he said. "You do get the big names like (Michael) Essien, Asamoah Gyan, John Mensah, (Didier) Drogba and people like that, chestnut ugg boots but there is a lot more talent over there than people give Africa credit. "As you saw at the World Cup in South Africa, everybody was shocked when Ghana should have reached the semi finals. But for me, having been out there, I can realistically see Ghana maybe winning the World Cup in a few tournaments time. "It s just a case of not having the facilities to bring that talent to the forefront of world football. I tried with one of the youth players, I sent some cheap ugg boota video tapes to some clubs and they were all very interested, but of course there was a visa situation and they couldn t have a look at them, unfortunately. There are many more players outside of Ghana as well." While living in the sunshine and spending your days playing football morning, noon and night sounds like the good life to us, surely there comes a point when you dream of the freezing, windswept landscape of Blighty, isn t there? Slowe said: "Obviously you do miss home and it is an issue, but you do enjoy it. Language"You get to pick up some of the local language. In Cyprus it was Greek and in Ghana there are various different languages, but as long as you get some of the language you can have a bit of fun with the players and when they are talking you can pick up on it and not just be a spare part. You do miss home but overall it was a really good experience. It was interesting learning different sides of football." After taking in a spell at Cypriot outfit Onisilos Sotira, Slowe was offered the opportunity he had been waiting for when Newcastle United came calling. Unfortunately, fate conspired against him and the chance to impress the North East giants went begging.

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