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Matchday feature: Laying the foundations

Posted: Sun 27 Mar 2016
Mings poses on a building site

Founding KTM Design, building his new house, studying a diploma and recovering from a long-term injury. Tyrone Mings told the Norwich City edition of Matchday how he is filling his free time.

Showing a lack of ambition is a charge that cannot be levied upon Tyrone Mings.

The 6ft 5in summer signing was tucking into non-league football with Chippenham Town just three years before he kicked his first Premier League ball with the Cherries.

An inspiring transformation that has also been mirrored away from the pitch. Once a mortgage advisor for London & Country, Mings now runs his own company: KTM Design.

“We are an interior design and architecture company,” the left-back begins enthusiastically.

“Clients will come to us and say that they want something redesigned; that they’ve just built a house and they want to decorate in a certain way, or they want a specific kitchen. 
Mings in 1
“We are about to start out first architecture job soon. Someone has an office and they want to create a meeting room, so we will take control of everything from the initial plans and designs, to planning permission and organising the builders to come in and do the required work. 

“As a company we can do anything to with interiors or architecture, really. We could build someone’s house from scratch or just redesign their living room. There’s no real limit or scale to what we can do.”

Setting up and running a successful business is a tricky enough challenge for any aspiring entrepreneur, let alone a 22-year-old professional footballer.

But with the support of his talented business partner, Mings is living proof that it can be made to work.

“With every job we do comes a project manager role,” he continues.

“So that is what my business partner, Katie [Thomas], does alongside all of the designing. She meets with the clients to get a clear idea of what they want before measuring everything up and coming back with a presentation tailored to their specific budget, needs and ideas.
Mings in 2
“Katie is someone that I’ve known since secondary school and when I first signed here she was just finishing an MA in Architecture at Bournemouth University. 

“She had worked out in the Middle East on some exciting projects and in the studio at Harrods, so I asked her what she was planning to do once she graduated. She had a few offers but nothing really concrete, so we put our heads together and came up with KTM Design.”

Having launched back in October, the company now has a number of running projects under its belt. Including designing Mings’ new Bournemouth home.  

The former Ipswich defender laughs at the suggestion that he is living out a real-life version of The Sims. 

This project has a practical element.

“I never could have imagined that I would get the chance to build and design my own house,” he begins.

“I am in a very fortunate position and I think I got the plot just at the right time. But it also works out very well for the company because we are able to use this as a sort of start-up job. We are designing it all from scratch. 
Mings in 3
“I’ve decided everything from how the wiring will be for the speakers in the ceiling, to the kitchen, to the floor, to the wallpaper, whether I want stencils on the wall…” 

The Sims remark starts to appear flippant as Mings proceeds to explain, in detail, every fragment of his new house’s design and structure.

And with his next disclosure, things suddenly become a lot clearer.

“I am actually studying a diploma in interior design at the moment,” he affirms.

“In the past I’ve been involved on the buying and selling side of things as a mortgage advisor but I always wanted to develop property.

“I thought that if I know everything involved in buying and selling a property, as well as creating and designing one, then that will stand me in good stead for the future. 
Mings in 4
“Coming from that side of things, having had a 9-5… a real job, and then into the football bubble makes you aware that it doesn’t last forever. You are lucky to get 12 or 13 seasons, and I am already missing one because of injury. 

“So anything I can set in place now, that I can then roll into after football, will help to make that transition a lot easier. Players can get very down and lost when they leave, especially if they have been in the system throughout the academy stages. They come out the end of it without any real focus or goals.

“I guess I’ve always wanted to have something outside of it all, because it can work as a good distraction. When things are going well football is easy to focus on, but when it’s not it’s nice to be able to step away and have something to put things into perspective.”

As with many of Eddie Howe’s recruits, Mings comes across as refreshingly normal. Unpretentious and unaffected by the football bubble he discusses so well.

Though with such a meteoric rise from non-league, it’s sometimes hard to find your footing.

“It all happened ridiculously quickly,” Mings starts.
Mings in 5
“I went from being a mortgage advisor and playing at Stourport away to being on the bus travelling to play at Elland Road – all in a week!

“I played for Chippenham on the Saturday and then had the day off work on Monday to trial at Ipswich. After the trial match I was eating in the Ipswich canteen and Mick McCarthy was in his office phoning Chippenham to say he wanted to sign me!

“He eventually called me in and asked whether I had a job, then whether I could get out of it! So off I went, back to work on Tuesday, to tell work that I was leaving to go and play football in the Championship for Ipswich. It was all quite surreal but thankfully everyone was over the moon for me.”

Now with two feet firmly planted in the football bubble, Mings is afforded the rare luxury of being able to see and understand both sides.

And whilst he can appreciate the enthusiasm of those on the outside looking in, it’s not something that he likes to focus on in the business world. 

“I think Bournemouth is a great place for us to start,” he explains.

“But what I don’t want is for people just to use the business just because I play for Bournemouth. At the same time, though, I am not naïve and I know that can come with it.
Mings in 7
“I guess it’s difficult to distinguish myself from the owner of an interior design company to a professional footballer. People who come into contact with me through KTM might know me from playing football, so they are more interested in talking about how the injury is than about business.

“It can be quite strange at times. I went to a letting convention a while back in Bournemouth and there were a lot of people there that wanted to take pictures and stuff - that obviously wasn’t because I was there for the business! 

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to show my face and if it works for the business then it works, but it is something I try to steer away from. At the same time, I know that first and foremost I am a Bournemouth professional footballer. That is my job. I can’t get away from that responsibility and that’s fine with me.”

Starting up a business, building a new house, recovering from a long-term injury and studying a diploma all seems like an awful lot for one man to handle.

Yet the imposing defender appears unperturbed by this mammoth juggling act. His visions for the future are carefully mapped out and his priorities clear.

“My immediate plan is to get fit,” Mings starts.

“Rehab is quite rigid in terms on timing, so everything else has to fit around that. At the moment that’s my main focus because I want to get it right.
Mings in 6
“That said, depending on days, I can usually be finished here by three or four. So the business fills my time quite nicely and gives me something to take my mind away from the everyday rehab. Sometimes I need to juggle things around but there’s nothing that ever really conflicts with it.

“It’s nice to get stuck into this whilst I’ve got  more time on my hands, but the aim once I get back playing is to employ someone as a business development manager. At that stage I don’t want it to be taking away from my football - I don’t want to be sharing my time.”

It would take some doing to top the year that Mings has enjoyed, though the defender seems set to tackle that task head on.  

And you get the impression that if anyone can, he can.

“I have a few business ideas that might come in to place in 2016,” he smiles.

Then a true businessman’s sign-off to conclude the interview.

“But I can’t really disclose any of that at the moment.”
Supporters can read in-depth features, such as the above with Tyrone Mings, and much more in every edition of Matchday.

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