How South Shields FC star combines football with life as a successful entrepreneur

Students Lee Moore, James Appleby, Garry Cooperwaite and David Stephenson with Gavin Cogdon, centre.

Students Lee Moore, James Appleby, Garry Cooperwaite and David Stephenson with Gavin Cogdon, centre.

A South Shields FC favourite is proving to be just as sharp off the pitch as he is on it – as he continues to establish himself as an entrepreneur.

Striker Gavin Cogdon, 33, has been one of the stars of the show for the Mariners in the club’s greatest season for decades.

Gavin Cogdon celebrates his third goal for South Shields in the League Cup final on Saturday. Image by Peter Talbot.

Gavin Cogdon celebrates his third goal for South Shields in the League Cup final on Saturday. Image by Peter Talbot.

He scored a hat-trick in Saturday’s League Cup final win over North Shields, and his 30 goals have also helped the club win the Northern League title and Durham Challenge Cup, and reach Wembley in the final of the FA Vase.

The dad-of-two combines his football with his business interests, and owns successful fitness training ventures CrossFit Tailored Training and Unique Performance Coaching.

He also recently launched football strength and conditioning programme Movement Academy, which is aimed at youngsters, and works full-time as a physical activity programme co-ordinator for people with long-term health conditions.

Gavin, a former student at Sunderland College, returned to Bede Campus recently to deliver a motivational talk and offer advice to those interested in setting up their own companies.

We all make mistakes and have to sacrifice certain things, and I think that’s what separates the dreamers from the people who go out and make it work

Gavin Cogdon

His visit to the college saw him speak with BTEC sport, fitness instructor, personal trainer and higher education sports students.

Gavin said: “It’s a very rewarding experience but I think a lot of people at the outset don’t realise how much hard work it can be.

“You’ve got to love what you do otherwise you won’t have the motivation and commitment to see it through.

“We all make mistakes and have to sacrifice certain things, and I think that’s what separates the dreamers from the people who go out and make it work – I’m still learning from my mistakes, and I think it’s important that people understand the challenges of owning a business, and how you can turn a mistake into a success story.

Former Sunderland College student Gavin Cogdon talked to current students about setting up a sports business.

Former Sunderland College student Gavin Cogdon talked to current students about setting up a sports business.

“I really enjoyed speaking with the students and I hope it was beneficial to them.

“When I studied at the college I was given lots of encouragement and support, so it was nice to give something back and help the students decide what they want to do after they leave the college.”

Gavin launched Washington-based Crossfit Tailored Training three years ago with business partners Michael Williamson and John Lee Lydon, and it has since tripled its membership and moved into bigger premises.

He set up Unique Performance Coaching with friend Ian Watson last year, designed initially to educate elite sports people about the importance of strength and conditioning.

The company trains professional boxers, athletes, MMA fighters and semi-professional footballers, and is set for expansion – via the launch of Movement Academy – as it aims to target the younger market.

John Rushworth, faculty director for sport, health and well-being, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Gavin back to Sunderland College to share with learners what he has achieved from the skills, knowledge and experience he gained from the courses he studied with us.

“His achievements to date are a testament to his passion for the exercise and fitness Industry, and I’m sure our sports students have been inspired by his journey.”