IT was an opportunity Robbie Cooke could not turn down.
IT was an opportunity Robbie Cooke could not turn down.IT was an opportunity Robbie Cooke could not turn down.
One minute he was working for city-based travel firm Travelex, the next he's clocking up air miles watching Europe's finest footballers.
The irresistible reason for the former Posh striker to join the jet-set was the lure of the plum job as Everton's chief scout or 'scout co-ordinator' as Cooke pointed out the role is now called in these 'football is big business' savvy times.
He couldn't have picked a better time to leave his job of nine years at Travelex as his promotion from part-time scout to full-time 'co-ordinator' coincided with the Toffeemen storming into the top six of the Premiership.
Even if things hadn't been going so well at Goodison Park, Cooke admitted the opportunity to work for one of the biggest clubs in the country, alongside a manager, David Moyes, he rates as one of the brightest in the game, was to good to let pass by.
Cooke said: "It's an opportunity for me to go into a new career at the age of 45 and they are not things that come along too often.
"It is exciting for me to get this offer in a profession I grew up in. To go back into football full-time - it was an opportunity I felt I just had to grab.
"The frailties in football are well documented. Things can change very quickly and you can find yourself out of a job. It's a risk I am fully aware of, but a risk I am willing to take."
You only have to look at Cooke's typical itinery to see that it is a risk that any football-mad person would jump at.
For instance one weekend earlier this month he watched Manchester United v Arsenal on the Saturday morning followed by Bolton v Blackburn in the afternoon, leaving him just enough time to catch the plane to Monte Carlo and take in Monaco v Auxerre on Sunday.
Sounds like the perfect stag weekend, except the responsibilities of the job are so great it is more of an immediate marriage, albeit one made in football heaven.
Cooke is watching football seven days a week, running his eye over Everton's future opponents and building up his knowledge of Europe's emerging footballing talent.
He added: "I do watch players both home and abroad, but I do spend a lot of time abroad because that is where the best deals are to be had.
"It all means that I spend a lot of the time on a plane and in cars, but I love it and hope to make a successful career out of it.
"It can't be a bad job when you are being paid to fly round the world to watch top level football."
Robbie Cooke on:
Being based locally I do watch a fair amount of Posh games and they have got one or two good players.
It surprises me that they are struggling with the players they have got. I know there are two or three other clubs who have been looking at some of their players.
Some, no most, sorry, all of them are in it for the money.
Some of them do not have a full appreciation of football, but I find them up front and honest and nice people to work with. They are just trying to earn a living and have access to players and information we need.
I find it strange that in industry if you lose key workers you can replace them, but in football if your strikers are injured you have to wait until January to do anything about it.
I do not think there will be an avalanche of activity once the transfer window re-opens in January. I think the current financial climate will restrict what clubs, even at the very top, are able to spend.
I've met Wayne and he is a phenomenal talent. I think the country as a whole as well as Everton have a duty to protect him.
I hope he is not one of these we will build up just so we can slaughter him at some other stage. He's still only a boy and has come a long way in a short time.
I have a lot of faith in the manager. He is one of the brightest young manager's in the game.
He is very meticulous in everything that he does and it is just great to have the opportunity of working with him.
As you go to games you do get to know who the other scouts are and you chat, but there is a sort of unwritten rule that you do not ask what player they are watching.
You will talk about the game and different players, you may even talk about the player you are watching, but only amongst a sea of other players. You never directly say I'm here to watch x, y or z.