Alan Sutton. My Journey from Pavement to Premier League with Leeds United
First Published : March 2022. ISBN: 978-17809-16279
This is the inspiring story of Alan Sutton, in his own words, of how he transformed his working life as a flagger and kerber on the streets of Bradford to become one of the longest serving physiotherapists at Leeds United.
An aspiring footballer who turned down a professional contract, his journey took him to 1960s Canada, where he landed with no job and nowhere to stay. Finding gruelling work as a labourer on the urban building projects of a fast-modernising nation, he spent over a year travelling across the country working with a diverse range of people. He was determined to remain within the sport he loved and played for Kitchener Kickers, before returning to Bradford to take up football coaching alongside running his own building company.
In his 30s, he overcame his lack of formal qualifications and decided to retrain as a physiotherapist. His first job was at Fourth Division Halifax Town, at the same time moving into the world of Rugby League with Mansfield Marksmen and Halifax RLFC. He was with Halifax when they won the League Championship in 1986.
Appointed to Leeds United by Billy Bremner, Sutton embarked on a career at the club spanning four decades. As a key member of the back-room staff, and for many years their one and only physio, unheard of in today’s modern game, he supported Howard Wilkinson’s Leeds to success, winning the Second Division and the First Division Championships. He witnessed the continued growth of the club through the early years of the Premier League and was there during the struggles of administration and relegation, becoming a casualty of its financial woes.
With the job of getting the players match fit, not just physically but mentally, he has worked with players at all levels, from the first team to the Academy both at Elland Road and their training ground at Thorp Arch. As a well-known and much respected stalwart of the club, he provides a fascinating insight behind the scenes of those turbulent years, as well as his own relationships with many of the most well- known and controversial players and managers, all told with professionalism, honesty and a fair amount of Yorkshire humour.
About the Author
Alan Sutton was born to a working-class family in post-war industrial Bradford.
A schoolboy footballer, who realised he would never make the top-flight, he turned his sights on working behind the scenes instead.
Working his way up to the role of physio at Leeds United, he was at the club for almost 30 years. His time there took him all over the world where he has met and worked with some of the greatest names in football.
Now retired, he lives with his wife in Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire.
1 - Alan and his book with Leeds legends (l-r) Mel Sterland, Dominic Matteo, Andy Couzens, Jon Newsome and Brian Deane
2 - Alan with Jesse March
3 - Alan with Kalvin Phillips
4 - Alan with Liam Cooper
5 - Alan with Patrick Bamford
6 - Alan with Eirik Bakke
7 - Alan with Jonny Howson
8 - Alan with World Boxing Champ Josh Warrington
9 - Alan at a charity physio games with Simon Grayson, Jermaine Beckford, Chris Wilder, Matt Killgallon and Bryn Law.
Listen to Alan being interviewed by Adam Pope at BBC Radio Leeds
The Times / Sunday Times
‘By the end of my time at Leeds United, it had become like a factory’ | Irish Sport | The Sunday Times (thetimes.co.uk)
Yorkshire Evening Post
"Elland Road is not for everyone, as physio Alan Sutton discovered in almost three decades of service to Leeds United"