Corby's Sheridan is sharing his stories as a top football physio
John Sheridan was physio at both Luton Town and Tottenham Hotspur and was charged with playing a key role in Paul Gascoigne's rehabilitation from a career-threatening knee injury in 1991
John Sheridan certainly has a story or two to tell.
A resident of Corby for the past six years, Sheridan is about to release a book about his life and his time as a top physio in English football.
‘The Limping Physio’ will be released next Monday and tells Sheridan’s life story, including the story behind him being the man tasked with nursing Paul Gascoigne back to fitness in 1991.
Gascoigne, who was one of the top midfielders in world football at the time, suffered a severe knee injury following a challenge on Gary Charles during the 1991 FA Cup final between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest.
Gazza was soon to join Lazio and physio Sheridan was reluctantly thrown into the spotlight as he played a key role in the player’s rehabilitation.
But there’s more to the book than that story alone.
As a teenager, Sheridan fractured his femur in three places and caught osteomyelitis – an infection of the bone – in hospital, which left him with a limp for the rest of his life.
The book is being published by Pitch Publishing, although its wider release wasn’t in Sheridan’s plan to begin with.
“I am really looking forward to the book coming out,” he said.
“I was sitting there during the pandemic writing longhand in an A4 pad and my youngest son Paul, who was furloughed at the time, came in and asked what I was doing.
“I was just writing my life story for the grandchildren and he asked me whether I wanted it typing out and putting it into some kind of order.
“The book gave me a chance to get back in touch with players from the past and there are stories from them about their injuries and what they went through.
“And after I’d shown what I’d written to them they suggested it should be printed and I was ready to just self publish a few copies for the grandchildren and family.
“But Pitch Publishing got hold of it and said they would publish it, which is great.
“I hope it does well. The feedback I have had from people who have read it has been very complimentary.
“It’s a different kind of book. I am not sure there has ever been one written by a physio alone.
“But it’s not just football. It’s about life in general, it’s about overcoming a disability, it’s humourous. It’s just the story of my life really.
“It’s a book about my life in football and it’s about working at the highest level and life in general. I think it will be interesting to read, not only for football supporters but for other physios as well.”
Sheridan ended up as one of the biggest clubs in English football after first becoming the physio under manager David Pleat at Luton Town in 1979 - not that he exactly sold himself to get the job.
“I was doing a lot of courses for the Football Association and I was doing England Schoolboys and Luton were struggling for a physio and David Pleat invited me down for an interview,” he recalled
“I wasn’t bothered about going into league football when I started and I tried to put him off me!
“I said ‘I’ve got a limp, I don’t know how I will react to the crowd, there are better people around and I will do the reserves’.
“I didn’t think I would hear anything but then the phone rang and it was him and he offered me the job. I think he appreciated my honesty.
“So I was at Luton for seven successful years and when he went to Tottenham he invited me with him, which I think was one of the first times ever that a physio had followed a manager.
“There were some big names at Spurs but all the guys were brilliant to me and when Terry Venables came in I didn’t think I would last but, to be fair to him, he told me to get on with it and I was with him for six years.”
‘The Limping Physio’, with foreword by David Pleat and Gary Mabbutt, is being published by Pitch Publishing and is available to pre-order on Amazon, and will be released in bookshops on Monday (September 20).