We're gloving it, gloving it, gloving it
A GOALKEEPER-turned-entrepreneur is taking the non-league by storm as he prepares to launch his own grassroots line of goalkeeping gloves.Dean Neil, 30, formerly of Sudbury and Wivenhoe Town, decided two years ago to design Protek, a quality glove for young players who can not afford the top-of-the-range models, and donate the profits to charity.
A GOALKEEPER-turned-entrepreneur is taking the non-league by storm as he prepares to launch his own grassroots line of goalkeeping gloves.
Dean Neil, 30, formerly of Sudbury and Wivenhoe Town, decided two years ago to design Protek, a quality glove for young players who can not afford the top-of-the-range models, and donate the profits to charity.
Now Neil's dreams are coming to fruition. “The glove from the street” is due to be officially launched this month, but he has already sold 233 pairs and sold stock to four sports shops.
He said: “As a kid growing up, I could not afford good gloves - I had cotton ones with rubber bits on them. All the other boys had top-of-the-range gloves and I can remember being a bit intimidated by them all.
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“Having a good glove really does help with your game, and this is a good glove at a low price. It started off as a hobby, I was just expecting to sell them to the boys I coach, but now it's just gone so quickly and I am not ready for it!
“I am trying to save my stock up so we have every size available when we launch in January, but they keep going as soon as they come in.”
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Mr Neil, known in the non-league community as “The Monk” in tribute to Jason Statham's character from “Mean Machine,” started the process by stripping down big brands' gloves and analysing their relative merits.
In order to make his glove more durable than more expensive models, he has opted for a thicker-than-average four millimetre latex layer, even though he could double his profits by using a millimetre less.
He has also set his prices lower than top-of-the-range gloves, at �22.99 for youths and up to �38.99 for adults, to make them a more affordable high-quality glove for youngsters and non-professional keepers.
The prototypes arrived just a month ago, but through friends like Braintree Town goalkeeper Craig Holloway and Harwich and Parkeston stopper Nathan Munson, he has already sold an astonishing number of pairs.
The gloves are already on sale in four shops in Essex and Greater London, and Neil is expecting to sell even more when he launches the glove's website this month.
He said: “I am getting keepers phoning up asking for pairs so it's really word of mouth at the moment. We are now going to try and hit Suffolk too.
“I don't employ any sales reps - I met some and soon realised someone selling my products had to be a goalkeeper. I did not feel that love for the game was in them.
“From an early age I had to look after myself, I was always getting things going and working on market stalls so that prepared me for it. The first couple of times I met sales reps I was really nervous but now I'm getting into it, I am a real pro!”
He has even sacrificed his playing career for his new business, dropping down a level to Bowers & Pitsea in Essex due to time constraints while designing the glove, but he now hopes to rejoin the Ryman league.
Neil, who donates all the money he makes from football to charity every year, is also hoping to make a foundation for underprivileged young footballers benefit from his enterprise.
He said: “I have spoken to the FA about charities and am looking at two or three at the moment. I am also sponsoring Nathan Munson's coaching school, which he is setting up early in the new year.”
Anyone wanting more information on the glove can e-mail email@example.com.