A FORMER Newcastle United junior player, who played alongside Shola Ameobi, Michael Chopra and Peter Ramage, is taking on a new challenge with his own business.
Steven Sinclair spent seven years at St James’ Park after being spotted by scouts at the age of nine. The Magpies released him when he was 16 and the striker had trials with Sunderland, Manchester City, Burnley and Sheffield United – and played two games for England Schoolboys.
As an adult, he played for New Hartley, Ashington and Morpeth, but decided to focus on another career path.
“It was heartbreaking but, as you get older, you have different priorities,” said Mr Sinclair, who is married to solicitor Sarah and has twin baby boys Harry and Alfie.
“I would have loved to have been a professional footballer, but have no regrets. Being in business is really exciting and I am very confident that we can keep on expanding.
“And I haven’t given up on a Sinclair playing for Newcastle. The way Alfie and Harry are growing, they are going to have the stature of centre halves!”
Mr Sinclair trained as a plumber at Northumberland College – where he was twice awarded apprentice of the year – and spent 10 years working for another firm in County Durham.
But he decided to set up Ashington-based Steven Sinclair Plumbing and Heating in January, and already has two members of staff and provides work for two subcontractors.
Mr Sinclair is now looking to employ an apprentice and has turned to Northumberland College, where he studied himself. He worked with enterprise agency Go Wansbeck’s coach Graeme Trotter to set up the business.
Mr Trotter said: “Throughout his life, Steven has demonstrated a determination to succeed – in football, at college and now running a business. I’m delighted that he is doing so well and – crucially – creating jobs for local people.” But Mr Sinclair’s footballing career is not quite over.
He played in a charity match for one of his former teams – New Hartley Juniors – against Wallsend Boys Club in aid of the Mark Taylor Fund.
Former Wallsend player Mark was diagnosed with motor neurone disease shortly after playing in Whitley Bay’s 2009 FA Vase. Mr Sinclair said: “It was great to be involved in such a good cause.
“What has happened to Mark puts everything in context.
“It was my first 11-a-side match in more than a year, so I found it a bit tough – but I did score, even though we lost 2-1.”