Footballers like Vince Bartram are somewhat of a dying breed. Bartram was plucked from obscurity by Wolves in 1985 whilst playing for a small non-league team in Dudley. The Birmingham born shot-stopper then went on to spend six years at Molineaux learning his trade alongside future England keeper Tim Flowers and Wolves legend, Mike Stowell.
It was in 1991 however that Vince made his name where he enjoyed a successful three year spell at Bournemouth under the guidance of a certain Harry Redknapp. 132 league games later George Graham forked out £250,000 to take Bartram to Arsenal where he became David Seaman’s understudy for four years before switching to Gillingham.
It was at Priestfields where Bartram played at the peak of his footballing career under the guidance of Tony Pulis, Peter Taylor and Andy Hessenthaler. Bartram was a key member of the Gills squad that reached two consecutive playoff finals at Wembley; with the second gaining promotion to the second tier of English football for the first time in the clubs history.
In February 2004 Bartram retired from football after making 361 league appearances in a career which spanned 18 years.
What are you up to nowadays Vince?
I run my own soccer schools both for goalkeepers and outfield players under the name Keeperstars UK. I am also the under nine’s manager at Bournemouth’s centre of excellence. This involves coaching the boys two nights a week and then a game most weekends, helping to develop them as players with a view to them being taken on as YTS at 16.
Who did you support as a youngster?
As a youngster I was a season ticket holder at West Brom when they had a good team. Players like Regis, Batson, Cunningham and Bryan Robson were my idols. My best memory of them was beating Manchester United 5-3 at Old Trafford. I can’t see that happening again too soon though.
What were the highlights of your career?
Who are your closest friends in the footballing world?
My best friends in football are Paul Dickov who is still playing at Leeds United and Ade Pennock who is youth manager at Stoke City. I also keep in contact with my former managers Peter Taylor and Harry Redknapp. I even speak to my former goalkeeping coach at Arsenal, Bob Wilson who is a big inspiration to me.