Knees Up Mother Brown (KUMB.com) is an independent website run by supporters of West Ham United football club, and the longest-running independent West Ham site on the web. In a recent interview, Hammers legend Frank Lampard (father of the current Chelsea midfielder and England international of the same name) recalled Ryan Briggs, today founder of the Construction network – tCn:
Q: Something we have come to see over the last few years of watching the youth sides is that for every Joe Cole or Michael Carrick, Frank Lampard or Rio Ferdinand, there have been dozens who have not made it. It must be hard having to say to a kid, ‘Sorry son, you’re not going to make it here’? That must be hard; do you get involved with that side of it?
Lampard (left): “Yes. I’ve just been dealing with one that would be a good example for you – Ryan Briggs. We had to release Ryan and he was such a dedicated lad. I was gutted; when you have to tell someone who isn’t so dedicated it’s hard, but when you’ve got someone like Ryan who is really conscientious and wants to be a footballer – you know what I mean, it was hard. So he left, and he rang me a while back and asked if I could fix him up with a club. He said that he’d been around the non-League scene. I rang a few clubs for him; I rang Tommy Taylor at Orient, he said he wasn’t really taking anyone on, and I rang Lincoln who said that they’d have a look at him. I rang him back to tell him that I was trying for him, and he said that he was at Carlisle. He said that he didn’t like it up there. So he came back; I’m still trying to get him something, but I got a phone call the day before yesterday from a computer company asking me to give them a reference for Ryan Briggs. Now obviously he has realised that he isn’t going to get a club, but the kid has gone and got a job – and top marks to him because too many kids walk around feeling sorry for themselves. You know, they are in the pub in fifteen years time: ‘Oh I could have made it at West Ham but Lampard didn’t like me, or Redknapp didn’t like me’, but this kid has gone out and done it, and he can still go out and play non-League football. If he does any good he can come back again. It’s the bad side of it, but it’s the good side when someone like Ryan has got enough about them. This guy that I have spoken to at this computer company; I rang him up and he said that when Ryan came in they were so happy and delighted with him, he’s a confident lad and he wants to do well. He still wants to play football and the bloke said that if he wants time off or wants to leave early he can. It was pleasing to know that he has got himself sorted up to a point.”
OK, we are now talking a few years ago, but it shows that as well as rugby union legend Jason Leonard, tCn has some sporting talent in other areas too (Joe Cole and Michael Carrick were youth team-mates of Ryan’s). And showing it’s not just a passing affiliation to West Ham, Ryan was back at the Boleyn ground for a midweek fixture against Wolves only the other week.