Play up Pohnpei!

Comedian's brother returns from Micronesian adventure

Last Updated: 11/02/12 4:10pm

Paul Watson says he only became the national manager of Pohnpei because England continued to overlook his talents as a footballer!

"I've been kind of linked a lot recently with the England job, but I've been told by my agent not to say anything about it at the moment."

Paul Watson

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The younger brother of comedian Mark Watson, Paul became the world's youngest international manager at 26 in 2009.

Described as the 'world's worst' team in football, the tiny Micronesian island hadn't played an international match in over a decade, with their last outing a humiliating 16-1 defeat to nearby Guam.

Accompanied by his good friend Matt Conrad, Paul told Soccer AM how he set-off on a 26-hour flight and an 18-month adventure to put things right!

"I wanted to play for England, but I didn't feel like I was getting the chances I deserved in the England set-up," he joked.

"I went looking for a team that I could play for if I was from that country and that basically led me to Pohnpei.

"But that actually went out the window pretty quickly when it turned out that I would've had to marry a Pohnpeian woman, learn the language and live there for five years. I just thought that I wouldn't have that yard of pace by then and I hadn't gone that far to sit on a bench!"


With playing no longer an option, the 29-year-old decided to investigate the possibility of managing the national side instead.

"I sent an email and I didn't expect to hear anything back," he continued. "But I received an email back from the head of the FA who said 'I'd love to help but I've just moved to London', at which point we thought 'this is a prank'.

"But we met up with the guy in London and he said there's no coach and the only man who had passed his coaching badges was this guy who called himself the chicken man and would run around the pitch squawking, so I thought I had the edge on him then!"

Confronted with players who preferred tackling with their heads rather than their feet, Paul and Matt got to work!

"We coached the team, built them up and then tried to take them on tour to Guam to avenge their 16-1 defeat and eventually we got a sponsor; Coyne Airways," he said.

"We built a league first of all; from the league we picked a team and we trained for about nine months quite solidly; about five times a week, including gym sessions.

"We built a really decent team, went over to Guam and won a game 7-1!"


The Bristol City fan has since returned to England and written a book about his experiences and he says he is now open to job offers, including the vacant England post.

"I've been kind of linked a lot recently with the England job, but I've been told by my agent not to say anything about it at the moment," he joked.

"But like Harry I'm not at all interested unless the sums of money are vast, in which case I'm very interested!"