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News Archive > Sport > Probus’ Viking winning leagues in Sweden

Probus’ Viking winning leagues in Sweden

By Oliver Young 30th December 2020

Probus’ Viking winning leagues in Sweden

Probus to Plymouth, on to Cardiff, further south to Swansea, next stop Birmingham and now? Malmo, in Sweden.

Mark Read’s journey to becoming head of physical performance at Sweden’s most successful club is a colourful one, rippling with moments seized and a brave mentality that has seen him forge a career that not many, if any, would be strong enough for.

The 31-year-old currently lives in the small Swedish city with his fiancé whilst heading up the club’s impressive, forward-thinking physical department, a far cry from a childhood that saw him attend Roseland School and Truro College.

After studying sport science and coaching at Plymouth Marjon University, Read moved to Cardiff to study for his masters before sealing a first internship in football with Premier League Swansea City in 2012-13.

“It was just after Brendan Rodgers, so I worked under Michael Laudrup,” explained Read in an exclusive interview with the Voice.

“That was a great first year assisting and seeing how things work. We won the League Cup so, as a football fan, it was a great experience.

“We had Michu (cult Spanish hero who shone for just one year in England’s top tier) and that was the year he scored over 20 goals. He was a physical phenomenon. He wasn’t strong in anyway but he was just a fantastic finisher.”

Upon the end of his internship with the Swans, a paid role at West Brom was available and Read took the chance to work at another of England’s top tier clubs.

He continued: “I was lucky enough to get a second step on the ladder at West Brom and that was a fully paid internship, which was big at the time.

“After my internship, a job came up with the under-18s and I took the lead role with them as a fitness coach. It was a great great club and there have been some good young talents like Tyler Roberts (Leeds and Wales) who have made it.

“It was a very good place to work but I just missed being by the countryside and by the sea.”

Despite his desire for home comforts, Read’s next step was anything but comfortable.

“I came over [to Malmo] for a visit and found it to be very similar to Cardiff. It’s a small city but with a beach too,” the ex-Probus primary school student explained.

“I didn’t know anyone here but it was coming towards the end of their season and Malmo had just got into the Champions League for the first time, playing Atletico Madrid and Juventus so there was a cash injection into the club.

“The first team fitness coach was English at the time and they wanted someone to come and work with the youth players, who would be competing in the youth champs league and it got advertised to the academies in England.

“My boss knew I was a Cornish boy at heart so he said ‘have a look at this’. I could have stayed at West Brom for years. It was a great place to work but he knew I wanted to go. He knew someone here and put in a good word for me.”

Read made the bold decision to up sticks and move to the Scandinavian country to take the job as lead under-18s fitness coach, whilst occasionally stepping in with the seniors when their coaches were away on international duty.

He impressed and formed a close bond with manager Uwe Rossler and when the club’s first-team fitness coach departed, he was offered a promotion.

“I took the job but it was a difficult one because I love working with youngsters and developing them athletically. The club said if I took the job, they would recruit the right person to replace me and then I could oversee the whole physical department.

“My job is now the head of physical performance top to bottom but my daily work sees me with the first team a lot.

“I speak with the coaches, design sessions, take warm ups, monitor the GPS systems, a lot of rehab stuff and then back into the gym for the strength work which is my passion. I do have to pinch myself at times. It is strange. Ten years ago, I set the goal of wanting to be in football. Now I am here.”

Read’s time at the Eleda Stadium has seen the European minnows take on giants of the game such as Paris St Germain and Real Madrid, although the latter inflicted a Champions League record 8-0 thrashing at the Bernabeu with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring four goals.

In the future, does Read see a return to England on the cards? Maybe not.

He concluded: “We are hands down the best Swedish club. The club is very forward-thinking. The structure is correct and the grounding is good. We are fighting to be the best team in Scandinavia and are competing with FC Copenhagen and Midtjylland.

“Initially, I would have always said I wanted to work for an English club but now it is more about the lifestyle. I wouldn’t want to work somewhere where I wasn’t happy.”

By Oliver Young 30th December 2020

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