Barry Pointon is Manchester City's head of recruitment and he's the man who persuaded 15 year-old Willo Flood to sign for his club ahead of Celtic, Manchester United and Arsenal. Pointon has watched Flood's loan spell at Dundee United with interest and he's delighted that the young midfielder is at last showing just what he's capable of. Flood's upbringing in the tough Ballyfermot area of Dublin has given him the desire to succeed at Celtic according to Pointer "It's probably the roughest part of Dublin. For anyone who's never been there it's a bit like the old Gorbals in Glasgow and while you would normally see a car parked outside on most streets there you were more likely to find a Shire horse." he said "The Commitments, which was filmed in Dublin, gives you an idea of what it's like. Coming from that area, I'm sure, has given Willo the desire to succeed which has carried him throughout his career to where he is today. He's very driven as everyone knows and you can see when he goes out on to the park nothing scares him."
"But this is not some story about a football player from the slums." added Pointon "Willo was very well brought up in what is a difficult area. For that reason, I can't speak highly enough of the lad. He's a credit to his mother and family, Theresa and Will, whom I've got the utmost respect for and still speak with. I've known Willo since he was 15. We went to see him play for Cherry Orchard and knew right away he would go far. Celtic, Manchester United and Arsenal all wanted to sign him but fortunately he joined us instead. If things had worked out differently he could have ended up at Parkhead before now. "But I'm delighted that he's there now and everyone down here wishes him every success. Seven years ago we signed him and to be honest I could write a book about our relationship. Don't forget either that Willo has had to fight serious injury, but that's just typical of him - nothing can keep him down."
Flood has worked so hard for this move to his boyhood heroes. He took the risk of spending a second year on loan at Dundee United from Cardiff City and it has paid big dividends but, now that he's arrived at Celtic Park, Willo will not forget where he's come from "Unlike some players, Willo's not flash. In fact, he's the exact opposite. Willo knows the value of the pound and will always have his feet on the ground thanks to his fantastic upbringing. He's a good Catholic boy which is reflected in the way he goes about his everyday life." said Pointon "Willo's very straightforward, the kind managers just want to work with because his only concern is improving as a player and helping the team. You could even say he's a shy boy who doesn't enjoy the limelight.
"But in saying that, he'll handle all the extra attention which comes from playing for a huge club such as Celtic." he added "The fact he's surrounded by good people such as his agent, Eammon Collins, will make sure of that. If there was ever anyone who deserved a move to the big time, it's him. Whenever I speak with young lads I use two words for inspiration - Willo Flood. I remember him making his debut for City back in August 2003 in the UEFA Cup in Wales against TNS. He was immense just like he is today. He's quick, never pulls out of a tackle and is good on the ball. If anyone suggests otherwise they don't know what they're talking about."
Pointon is now looking forward to some of the perks due to him as a mentor "I'll be on the phone to him for tickets for all the big Celtic games." he said "They'd better be good seats as well. Knowing Willo, he'll go out of his way to make sure they are. "That's just the type of guy he is. Willo will always remember those closest to him and that's how I'd best sum him up. I saw him at 15 and knew he'd go far"