Lindon City’s Blake Henwood made his first appearance for FC Isle of Man on Friday 22nd December. Before the game we sat down with Blake to hear about his footballing story so far!
Describe your journey from local teams to Lincoln City.
I moved to the Isle of Man when I was two years old. My dad and grandad coached my brother Mason’s junior team at Marown and I used to train with them on a Saturday morning until I was old enough to join
the under 6s team. I played for Marown until I was about 10 years old and then moved to St Johns.
When I was 8, I got the opportunity to go to the UK and train/play with Man City for 3 years. I played for
every team I could, the school football team, a local team, the Island team and EDP. I had some great
times going to the UK, playing in tournaments and against some of the Academy teams in the North of
England. I now play for Lincoln City Shadow team and Lincoln United (under 18s) while I am in the UK and FCIOM and St Johns in the IOM.
How did the opportunity to go to Man City come about?
My dad sent them an email and asked!! They said ok, come for a training session and lets see how you do. I was really nervous and on my first visit had to take a penalty. Thankfully I scored one of best penalties I have taken and they said I could go back and train as often as I could. I used to go once a month to train on a Tuesday and Thursday. The Knox Group sponsored my travel costs and without them I could not have done it. It was every kids dream and the experience was amazing. My parents used to tell me to take everything in and enjoy every visit in case it was my last. I will always be grateful to City for the experience.
What happened after Man City? Was it back to local football or did you have further trials elsewhere?
I tried to get trials elsewhere with a lower level club but because of the FA rules, you have to live within a
certain amount of miles from the club, no clubs were able to give me an opportunity whilst still living here. I did go on a football tour with Southend United to Germany and got to play against teams like Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach.
How did the link up with Lincoln City arise?
Jack Higgins, Isaac Allan and I all played for St Johns. Isaac had gone to a trial and been signed for Lincoln and I saw that they were doing open trials for their scholarship programme and decided to give it go. I went over with Jack and we had a 4 hour trial. We were late to apply and didn’t get in the Scholarship squad but they offered us a place in the Shadow team. It is a 2 year programme and combines playing football and studying further education. At the end of the 2 years, you either stay with the club and get a contract, try to find another club, or come back to the Isle of Man.
So what does a typical week look like for you?
We live on campus and study for a BTEC level 3 in Sport. We train on a Monday with our team, Tuesday
with the scholars, play games on Wednesday, and train on Friday. We have lessons at the College during
the time we are not training. Last year, we had a great season and won the North East Premier league
and got through to the quarter finals of the National cup. We play against teams like Middlesborough,
Everton, Liverpool, Barnsley, Burnley, all teams that have the same type of set up as Lincoln City.
Did you move over at the same time as Jack Higgins and William Cowin? Did it help you settle in having people that you know around you?
I moved across with Jack and Morgan Beckley (Braddan) last year and Will came this year. Overall, it
has been a good experience for all of us, I think our football has got better, we have become great friends, and will keep in touch with our team mates when we finish. We all live in the same accommodation and moving over to England at 16, in our situation, we have experienced a lot (both good and bad).
Tell us a little known fact about you
I was born in Upstate New York and have both UK and US citizenship. Who knows one day I might try to play football in USA.