Pompey striker focused on lighting up Fratton

09/07/13  ''Pompeys new look team play Havant Hawks at Havant. Ryan Bird celebrates goal.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (131926-29)
09/07/13 ''Pompeys new look team play Havant Hawks at Havant. Ryan Bird celebrates goal.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (131926-29)

Ryan Bird keeps being pestered to have a look at Guy Whittingham’s garden lights.

Not that the towering striker has any interest in lending a hand, his electrician days are behind him.

Forever, he hopes.

The breakthrough the 25-year-old had long craved has arrived at Pompey, now he is a fully-fledged professional footballer.

The share in the electrician business Bird was part-owner of with his friend has now been taken over, while his tools have been packed away.

Football is the ex-Burnham man’s overriding focus after relocating to Port Solent.

Certainly he has no inclination to ever return to the occupation which previously earned him a living – not even if asked to on behalf of Pompey’s boss.

He said: ‘Up until a few weeks ago I was a self-employed electrician – me and my friend had our own business together.

‘We worked for ourselves, so it was up to us how much we wanted to do, whether it was for one day or five days in a week. Sometimes you are working at 10pm.

‘He has taken it over now and I have thrown my tools away!

‘Working with friends was alright. It was me and him together on the site, so we could crack on, have a bit of banter and then go home. It worked really well for us.

‘Sometimes you would work Tuesday, play football for Burnham that night and then work on the Wednesday.

‘You could get back after an away game at 1am and then get up at 6.30am for work.

‘Being an electrician is actually a well-paid job, especially playing football as well.

‘I was getting paid good money for football and we could work when we wanted. It was basically like I had two jobs.

‘I remember two weeks before playing for Pompey in the Havant friendly I was working on a building site doing the electrics.

‘I was working on the Friday and thinking “this could be the last day I do this” – and it actually was!

‘Everyone still asks me to do bits and pieces – Wiggy (Steve Allen) keeps trying to get me to try to look at the gaffer’s garden lights.

‘I have to admit, though, as a footballer, after finishing training I am bored for the rest of the day now!’

Bird sprang to Pompey’s attention during a Burnham season which saw him finish with 45 goals.

Following a brief trial with the Blues towards the end of that campaign, he was invited back to train by Whittingham this summer. After a fortnight, which included two goals in a 45-minute friendly cameo against the Hawks, he was snapped up on a one-year deal with a 12-month option.

Now the former central defender has the precious opportunity to develop and prove his worth in full-time football.

He added: ‘It’s hard because I have only played up front for two years and it is about getting used to it.

‘Macca tells me a lot of things like where to go. If the defender can see your shirt number he has got you in his pocket and knows what you are doing, so you have to peel off.

‘Those are things I never really thought of. I used to do whatever I thought was right and made it up as I went along.

‘Now the defenders are a lot better and know what you are doing, so it’s a case of getting off his shoulder so he can’t see you and the ball at the same time.’