'People say I'm crazy . . . I just have a drive for it'
PEOPLE call him crazy, but for Tony Palmer the satisfaction of seeing young people develop is enough to make him carry on the hard work.
The 45-year-old gives up his free time five days a week to coach the next generation of talented footballers.
Despite having a busy day job working for the NHS, Tony coaches four different teams during the evenings and weekends.
"I've always worked with kids, in schools and things. This is what I'll do for the rest of my life," he said.
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"I like developing players from nothing and seeing them go on and improve.
"I give all my voluntary time. I do get paid on a Monday night, but the other nights are my time dedicated to football.
"It's just a passion. I still get the feeling that I did when I played football. It's a desire to see these kids do well."
Tony is a former semi-pro footballer having played for the likes of Gedling Town and Grantham Town.
The ex-left-midfielder added: "I've been coaching for 12 years now. When I stopped playing at Gedling one of the other players became a youth coach and he asked me to help out.
"It's important for volunteers to do it. It's rewarding when you see them years later and how they progressed. It's not just football, it's the social, physical and mental progression. They become better people."
For Tony, the progression of the women's game is as important as anything.
"I've been involved with women's football for about six or seven years. They are trying to develop the game and get more coverage on TV," he said.
"If I was a girl I would be very excited, there's a push going on, especially with the women's team at the Olympics."
The father of three says it is important to be a role model in the job. He said: "I'm big on family values and how an individual should progress to be a better person.
"I used to mentor a female coach who was my assistant coach. I'm still in touch with her but she's moved on."
Despite his passion for grassroots football, Tony's drive can come at a cost.
The 45-year-old admits it is difficult to find family time among all the other commitments.
He said: "My wife doesn't see me a lot and she works at City Hospital as a healthcare practicioner. It's difficult, I try to spend time with her but she won't stop me doing it because she knows the passion within me."
Tony's wife, Donna, 46, said: "I don't know how he does it. He comes in from work and is straight out again. I don't mind, it's what he enjoys and loves. He's very dedicated and wants to bring children on. He's so pleased when they develop."
On Saturday mornings, Tony coaches the Nottingham City Boys U11 team.
John Hatvani is the manager of the team and said: "All I've ever heard is he's a credit to Nottingham, he's one of the best coaches we've got."
Regardless of the opinions of people who wonder how he does so much, there's no doubting Tony's commitment, and it is unlikely to be ending any time soon. He said: "People say I'm crazy but I just have a drive for it."
Do you know a coach that goes above and beyond in their volunteering? Contact the sports team on email to: firstname.lastname@example.org