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GUEST BLOG: Fighting back after serious injury
Manisha Tailor (photo: Kajal Nisha Patel)

Manisha Tailor (photo: Kajal Nisha Patel)

By Manisha Tailor

One tackle can cause loss of form, one tackle can lead to mental breakdown, and just one tackle can end the career of a professional footballer. Perhaps this was thought in November 2010 when one horrific tackle broke the leg of Arsenal and Welsh International, Aaron Ramsey, in a manner which caused onlookers to wince and look away in disgust. “The determination and professionalism that you need, it’s quite tough”.

A feeling shared by one former Arsenal player who has experienced various levels of the football pyramid after suffering two serious injuries which saw him drop down from the football league to non-league. A player who has most recently been compared to football greats such as ‘Pele’ and tipped as scoring the best FA Cup goal ever. That player is Rene Steer: Injury, setback, to current form that has attracted much interest across the globe.

Steer spent 6 years at Arsenal seeing him make numerous appearances for the reserves in addition to graduating to the first team in 2007 before departing on loan to Gillingham in 2009. Since then he has played for clubs including: Oldham Athletic, Staines Town and Woking, having left last season following a serious injury. “I personally believe that I’ve been unlucky with 2 serious injuries at the wrong time which has stopped me showing clubs what I’m all about”. He started this season with St. Neot’s Town but has most recently joined Boston United who play in the Conference North Premier League.

From the heights of the Arsenal to playing non-league, such difference can potentially impact players psychologically with a difference in status, money and fan base. Now to add injury, ruling a player out of something that he loves and has a passion for, ruling a player out of something he lives to do – playing the game. Steer, having experienced the two, illustrates that mental toughness is paramount to help overcome such challenging circumstances. It is his resilience, determination and focus that is admirable, and tells us much about his strong character. This season we see the form that saw him lauded so early in his career.
His left-footed 40-yard wonder goal in St Neot’s FA Cup game (see video clip below) has lead him to become an internet sensation with over 400,000 views and fans commenting: “it’s truly ridiculous”….. “goal of the season”. Manager Iain Parr is positive about Steer’s current form: “The last two or three games he’s showing what he’s all about defensively”.


Rene, Norwich City FC scout in addition to a highly regarded football coach at The Rachel Yankey Football Programme, has received words of support and encouragement from the most capped England International, Yankey, who stated in a tweet: “very proud of one of my coaches after coming back from injury. Step aside Leighton Baines!”

Steer’s journey through his injury was most certainly an emotional one hence why the ‘wonder goal’ is that much more special and significant. “When Rene scored that goal I was happy and emotional because I said to him that goal had a meaning, it was meant to be. The year he had out in football due to his injury was probably the worst thing that happened to him, and to watch him come back fighting and putting in so much work to get fit and reach his top form again has been inspirational to me and our friends. That goal made up that year of him missing football and now he’s reaping from it. I’ve watched him reach his all time low to picking himself up and reach is high, watching his journey has been amazing” (Ola Williams, Wingate and Finchley FC).

Having the courage and confidence to bounce back after a serious injury that takes you away from what you yearn to do is tough and without the will power and determination, along with a supportive network can be an extremely long road. Rene Steer is a real example of someone who has strength in mind, but most importantly a real willingness to want to do well. “My aim is to try to get back playing league football and for the rest of the season, to keep playing and maybe chip in with a few more goals.”

As stated by Williams, an inspiration to those who may also have suffered from a set back within the game. A humble, funny, down to earth, well grounded and genuinely lovely person. This combined with his strength in character is most certainly a recipe for success. Focus, and possibilities are endless. I look forward to seeing Steer playing in the Football League in the not so distant future.
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Watch the goal below:


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