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Every day’s a school day

Every day’s a school day

Honestly, I can’t believe I’m writing this article. But when you’re the editor, you can write what you want, I guess. Like stuff about our greatest ever players, or how long sleeve shirts aren’t worn much anymore… or how the UK’s 2006 Eurovision entry has claims to have had a half-decent career in football management.

Last week, Liverpool was unveiled as the host city for Eurovision 2023. So today I give to you the story of Daz Sampson; music producer, ‘rapper’… and professional football scout and manager?

Let’s get the musical nonsense out of the way first. Early in his career, Sampson did a bit of work on Radio Luxembourg, had a number 8 hit in 1998 with a remix of Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting, and then a spate of top 100 songs covering Val Halen, T Rex, Hall & Oates and a load more. Most of the songs are terrible, though his work as ‘Uniting Nations’ in 2004 and 2005 wasn’t awful at the time.

But here’s where things go (more) rogue. On 4 March 2006, Sampson won the BBC show Making Your Mind Up with the song “Teenage Life”, written and produced with his long-time collaborator John Matthews. The accompanying dance routine involved four young women dressed as schoolgirls, dubbed The Sampsonites.

The song, despite kicking off with a girly screech asking “What did you learn at school today” and having lyrics like “Messing on those grade As, my life is just a haze” and “Thinking of those sixth form chicks that misbehave (whatever)”, was a relative commercial success prior to Eurovision becoming a Top 10 hit for him on the UK Singles Chart with the single released on 14 May 2006 just prior to the contest. In the contest itself, Sampson only 10 of the 39 eligible countries voted for Sampson and his total score was 25 points, placing him 19th out of the 24 acts. He was, however, responsible for the highest ever UK Eurovision TV viewing figures at the time.

Sampson had three more cracks at the contest; with the UK in 2007 (didn’t make the shortlist of songs), and Belarus twice, in 2019 with a song called Kinky Boots which wasn’t selected, and in 2021, when his effort wasn’t selected either, and in any case, Belarus were kicked out of the competition.

So what of Sampson’s playing days then? He played as Stockport County and Manchester City as a youngster, but injury suffered in a motorbike accident cut short his days on the pitch.

Honestly, this story would be unbelivable if it wasn’t supposedly true. When part of Uniting Nations, Sampson had three number ones in Poland, and apparently spent so much time there that he bought a nightclub with his agent, and spent his spare time watching non-league football. As anyone who knows non-league football will tell you; hang around long enough and you’ll be dragged into doing something. According to Sampson, he’d “go and watch the local semi-professional side over the weekend and it wasn’t long before I was attending training sessions, before eventually being invited to take a few sessions in order to give them some English ideas.
“Before long I was offered the manager’s job with a side close to the foot of the table in the Polish third tier. The lads took on board everything I asked of them, we quickly moved up the table to finish third only to lose in the play-off final. I left half way through the following season, with the club in the top four, having won 13 of the 20 games played.” Pretty wild.

According to Sampson, he then returned to England, had a couple of businesses go bust, got divorced, and upped sticks to the Micronesian island Guam.

A manager’s record speaks for itself, and Sampson says, he turned around the fortunes of a struggling club on Guam.

“I threw myself into the role and helped the team to win six of the last eight games to ensure that they stayed in the top division, which I would say is Evo-Stik standard with a lot of international players from Guam and the surrounding islands playing in the league.

“We added a few players to the squad and we were near the top for much of the next season, before finishing second and also winning the Cup. I befriended several Koreans whilst on Guam, and was invited to go to Korea to do some coaching and football psychology courses. All of which added to my growing knowledge of the role.

“I enjoyed a couple of amazing years on Guam, winning around 78% of the games”.

From then, it was on to Florida, coaching players in Tampa for a bit, when he was offered a role with a university in Iowa. But by then it was time to come home.

He applied for jobs in the north west, but any potential employer no doubt Googled Sampson’s name, and were flooded by Eurovision results. Rightly or wrongly, it’s no doubt difficult to take someone seriously when that happens.

Sampson did land a role at Cheshire League Billinge, apparently winning nine of his ten games, but then went to Ahston Town as assistant manager, before that all ended in tears.He then took over as manager at Cheshire League side Halebank, but they withdrew from the league at the end of his first season, having finished 13th out of 15.

It’s not clear what has happened to Sampson since the end of the 2018-19 season. A Google search for his name and the word “football” brings up no serious results in the last four years, save for one mention in a Mirror article with an uncorroborated claim that he’s a scout with links to Ayr United and Stockport County.

And that’s a common theme in much of Sampson’s football story. There’s claims of management here and there, that his team was the best in the league, but it all seems to come from Sampson himself, rather than independent sources.

The Eurovision bit is real; millions of people can’t be wrong. But the tales of Sampson’s football career leaves us with more questions than answers.

Interview taken from https://philb1883.com/f/daz-sampson-article-2016