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Where are they now: Ted McMinn

20 December 2012

Going from wearing the kit to washing it isn't the most obvious of routes to take as a former footballer but that's exactly where Ted McMinn finds himself now.

Except that Ted is no longer involved in football at all - his kit manager duties are performed for Derbyshire County Cricket Club.

Ted, who starred in The Football League as a flying winger for Derby County, Birmingham City and Burnley, has been with Derbyshire since 2009.

His move to the role, on the back of previously working in Derby County's kit department, came about with Derbyshire's then head of cricket wanting to change things around for his players.

The 50-year-old Scot explained: "When I took over, John Morris was in charge and he wanted a kind of football environment with the players' kit being there and nothing for them to worry about - they would get themselves to the ground ready and it would be one less job for them to think about.

"It's very similar to football - all you have to bring is your footwear and nothing else. John wanted that at the club but he's left, and Karl Krikken [now head coach] and the chairman Chris Grant have come in, and they wanted the same thing.

"Luckily the club has won promotion this year, though, it's nothing to do with me washing the kit.

"The lads enjoy it [having the kit service]. They don't have anything to worry about and if they forget something, they know they can come to my room and there will be something to replace it."

The vast majority of a kit man's working time is spent, not surprisingly, in the laundry room, where Ted looks after the players' full array of match and training wear.

That includes trousers and shirts - enough to last them for a four-day match - plus jumpers, socks, and thermal wear.

"Day to day, I go in early in the morning if they are at home and make sure that everything is dry, clean and in place ready for them to get started for the day," said Ted.

"At the end of play I make sure I get all the kit in and it's all washed ready for the next day.

"For away games I make sure that their bags are filled for four days of cricket. I don't look forward to them coming back though because you've got four days worth of kit to wash.

"These lads wear a different top and a different pair of trousers every day so if they play a game on a Tuesday and finish on Friday then Saturday is a day of washing kit.

"I send them with everything - four days of trousers, four days of shirts, a jumper and a sleeveless top, and four days of training gear. Then they will have their thermals and their socks.

"That's more or less my job and when the first team are away the second team will be at home, but they are not as high-maintenance as the first team lads."

Ted's "high-maintenance" comment is purely tongue-in-cheek as he gets on well with Derbyshire's players.

Having been a part of countless football dressing rooms during his playing and coaching career, he is well placed to observe the dynamic of a cricket dressing room and how it compares to football.

He believes the way cricket is played makes it a different team sport to football because of the individual battles - batsmen versus bowler being a prime example - and says that different players have their own way of preparing for things.

But Ted reckons the characters are still the same in any dressing room environment as he is able to see the quiet players, the ones who are full of energy, and those who are perhaps a bit more nervous.

And with his own sporting background, Ted is able to more than play his part in the dressing room discussions as well as being able to call on his own experiences to help players along.

He said: "I just wind them up sometimes. I say about playing against Barcelona in front of 100,000 people and they are playing in front of two or three but they will just laugh.

"I have the banter with them and the lads know it's just banter, it's not to be cocky, or saying that you've done this and now you're a has-been.

"And if I see people going through bad times I will say to them that football is exactly the same.

"Strikers have times without scoring goals and players have times when they can't score runs but I say to them that it will come, that they have to work hard and get themselves in the nets.

"When I was a player I would do extra crossing work on the training ground and if I wasn't in the first team I would play in the reserves to get my confidence back, so if I see someone going from the first team to the second team I would always say to them that if you get some runs in the seconds you are ready to go back into the firsts."

And having enjoyed some successful times as a footballer, Ted was also able to see Derbyshire's players bring their own success to the County Ground in the summer of 2012 as they won the Second Division of the County Championship, returning to the top flight for the first time in over a decade.

"I heard someone say that in football money doesn't matter, it's about what you win at the end of it all," added Ted.

"You see a lot of players come through who people say are great players but they have won nothing.

"These lads can go and maybe never win anything again but they are Second Division champions and nobody can take that away.

"Survival this season will be fantastic but these lads will be prepared for the next few seasons and will take this success, hopefully they liked it, and can go on and get more.

"Nobody at the club expected this as Derbyshire are always looked at as the outsiders. We are the smallest county, we have one of the smallest grounds, and what they achieve is a lot to do with the coaching - Dave Houghton and Krikk [Karl Krikken] and the captain, Wayne Madsen.

"I enjoyed it and enjoyed seeing the smiles on the lads' faces."

As a footballer, Ted was with Glenafton Athletic and Queen of the South as a youngster before joining Rangers in 1984, spending a year in Spain with Seville, and moving to Derby in 1988 where he became a popular figure for five years.

A transfer to Birmingham City in 1993 didn't really work out and a year later he was at Burnley where he was loved by the Turf Moor faithful for two seasons, but a serious knee injury suffered while at Derby in 1989 - resulting in 14 months out - was catching up with him, and his top level career was finished in 1996.

Ted later coached at Southport, Oxford United and Chester City, all alongside his former Derby colleague Mark Wright, and from 2004 to 2007 he was the matchday summariser on BBC Radio Derby's coverage of Rams matches.

It was during that time his life took a dramatic change as a serious infection picked up while on holiday led initially to his right foot being amputated, then more of his leg was removed beneath the knee to allow him to have a prosthetic limb fitted.

Derby and Rangers came together for a benefit match in his aid in May 2006 as legends from both clubs took to the Pride Park pitch for an emotional occasion.

It was attended by almost 33,500 fans and is still Pride Park's record, with more than 10,000 Rangers followers present, showing just how well regarded Ted is by fans of his former clubs.

Indeed, a 2004 poll saw him voted as an all-time cult hero at both Derby and Burnley, finishing second in the Rams' standings and third for the Clarets.

He said: "Burnley was a surprise. If you're only there for two years you've got to have an effect on people and it was fantastic. The Derby one I lost to Igor Stimac, which I don't really mind.

"To get recognised with the cult hero thing was fantastic. It's one of those things you do sit down and smile about.

"I see people when I go shopping and they say they remember a game, so I start to think about how long ago it was and think I'm getting old.

"People always ask me about the Baseball Ground [Derby's former home] and Pride Park, and I will always have the Baseball Ground 100 times out of 100.

"People say why and I say it's because it was always better with people being on top of you. I loved playing at Queens Park Rangers for the same reason.

"You can hear people talking about anything. You can be taking a throw when getting beat 8-0 by Liverpool, and people are behind you talking about the pies, or they will say you're having a stinker and you can say 'yes, sorry'."

Life is so much different now for Ted the cricketing kit man compared to Ted the flying winger, but one thing remains the same as it was a couple of decades ago; the smile, which will always be on his face.

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