Life as an apprentice at Arsenal Football Club for two Dublin teenagers.

The Arsenal first team squad has three Irish players , David O'Leary, Frank Stapleton and John Devine. Hoping to emulate their success are Dublin teenagers Paul Gorman and Waymon Sweeney, who are plying their trade at the Arsenal Football Club Youth Academy.

After a week of training, Saturday is when the apprentice footballers get a chance to play a match and not being selected for the team is a blow. Midfielder Paul Gorman relishes match day and he likes to play well and win the game,

If we lose I still like to play well.

The highlight of the week is when the first team plays.

Defender David O'Leary recalls the difficulties he experienced as a young apprentice at Arsenal recently moved from Dublin. From watching ‘Match of the Day’ on television, he always imagined being a professional footballer would be a great life.

I didn't take into consideration what went with that, it was very, very tough as a 15 year old having to come away.

Neither Paul Gorman nor Waymon Sweeney are finding it easy to fit into the English way of life and find the locals unfriendly. However they are both in England to work rather than to make it their home.

Waymon Sweeney comes from a large family and feels homesick unless he occupies his time. When his football is going well at Arsenal, he is happier. 

Arsenal defender John Devine says apprentice players are supported by the club to attend school and to take up a trade. He believes it is important they have something other than football to support them in the future.

Paul Gorman chose to pursue football as a career simply because enjoys the game. 

Money doesn’t come into it yet, but in years ahead money might come into it, because it will be a living.

Arsenal forward Frank Stapleton says potentially he could play professional football for another ten years. If he does not earn well in that time, he may have to take a regular job something he would find difficult to do.

David O'Leary too is focusing on being financially secure for the future so he can choose what he wants to do rather than having to rush into something.

Maybe I will be one of the lucky ones that will be able to do that.

This episode of 'The Live Mike' was broadcast on 18 January 1980. The reporter is Mike Murphy. It includes footage of a League Division One match between Arsenal and Coventry City played at Highbury on 8 December 1979.