Interview – Zavon Hines

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The United Mates Keitel and Joe are joined by Zavon Hines, ex-Hammer turned current West Ham United youth coach and co-founder of the NASAA Football Academy, to discuss a playing career cut short by injury, as well as to learn how Zavon has used that experience to mentor the next generation of talented footballers.

Icebreaker:

Zavon recently played in a charity game for a West Ham XI and scored a great goal, taking on former guest Nedum Onuoha in the process. The time vault of ex-pros on display in that game got the group thinking about reunions and they each name a team they’ve played in from their pasts that they would look forward to a reunion with.

On Football in Zavon’s Childhood:

Zavon’s football journey began in Jamaica, where he was born, and continued in South London where he was raised. As a young Arsenal supporter, Zavon would look up to the likes of Thierry Henry and Ian Wright as well as Brazilians such as Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Zavon says that he’s always had to work harder than everyone around him just to get the same recognition.

On Playing for West Ham:

Zavon rose through the age groups at West Ham and after a brief loan spell with Coventry he burst onto the scene with the Hammers first team, scoring a goal on his debut against Macclesfield Town in the League Cup. Zavon followed that up with his Premier League debut against Liverpool and later on in the season with the winning goal against Aston Villa.

An injury would then disrupt Zavon’s playing time and bully tactics from manager Sam Allardyce combined with a less than ideal contract offer from the club lead to Hines leaving the club at which he’d so far made a name for himself in the game.

On Zavon’s England U21 Debut and International Football:

Zavon made his England U21 debut against Macedonia and scored twice after coming on as a substitute. He was part of a young 3 Lions squad that featured the likes of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge etc.

Prior to to this, Zavon had been called up by Jamaica but never kicked a ball for the Reggae Boyz. Zavon considered representing Jamaica later in his career but the opportunity never arose.

On What Was Supposed to be a Fresh Start at Burnley:

Zavon moved to Burnley from West Ham and things didn’t quite work out quite as he would have hoped. There were differences with manager Eddie Howe and Zavon played less football than expected. Before the end of his first season with Burnley he was loaned out to Bournemouth.

On Bradford’s Infamous League Cup Run:

Hines was released by Burnley and joined Bradford with whom he infamously made the League Cup final and was promoted with in his one season at Valley Parade. Bradford beat Premier League clubs Wigan, Aston Villa and Arsenal on their way to face Swansea at Wembley.

On a Good Spell Cut Short by Injury at Dagenham:

Zavon spent the next few seasons closer to home with Dagenham and things began well before a big injury would see Zavon miss over a year of football. During this time away from the game Zavon co-founded the NASAA Football Academy where he helps to mentor aspiring young footballers from South London.

On Bossing Non-League with Maidstone and Bouncing Back into the Football League with Chesterfield:

After a short spell at Southend, Zavon dropped into non-league football for the first time in his career and absolutely tore it up at Maidstone for 6 months. His performances caught the eye of Football League clubs and he soon earned a move to Chesterfield.

On Retirement, Returning to West Ham and Coaching:

Injury meant that Zavon has had to hang up his boots but he’s still very much involved in football and he’s back where it all started for his career. As a youth coach, Zavon wants to be there for his players as both a trainer and a mentor.

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