Peterborough United Amputee footballer Paul Clark enjoys a debut season to remember
When a bone infection led to Paul Clark having his left leg amputated above the knee in May 2016, he assumed that his days playing football were over.
However, the 41-year-old from Mildenhall has just finished a memorable first season representing Peterborough United Amputees – one that saw him win three trophies and secure qualification for the Champions League.
It all rounded off late last month when Clark was part of a Peterborough side that were crowned national champions after upsetting the odds with a 4-2 victory over their Manchester City counterparts.
The prize for that win is a place in next year’s FA Disability Cup, in which Peterborough will take on Arsenal at St George’s Park.
It is a situation that Clark never envisaged he would be in a couple of years ago, but he is relishing every moment.
“We were behind against Everton in the semi-final and again against Manchester City in the final, but we came through it. It has been an amazing first season,” said Clark, who is the events manager for charity Steel Bones.
“My role with Steel Bones has allowed me to do a lot of things – like climb Mount Snowdon on crutches – but I never expected to be playing football.
“When I lost my leg in 2016 I did not know any other amputees but through the charity and now football, I have got a lot friends.
“To win a national title is such a massive achievement. I feel like I have gone from strength to strength. My fitness has improved and so has my skill on the ball. I just cannot wait for next season to start.
“I need to say a massive thank you to Peterborough United, our manager Teilo Pearce, our sponsors Free Kicks Foundation, EAFA and most importantly my team-mates for giving me the opportunity to play football again.”
* Clark – a former Bottisham Village College student – helps to co-ordinate training sessions for amputee footballers each week in conjunction with the Cambridge United Community Trust. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org