A Birmingham enterpreneur is becoming a success in the high-powered world of Premiership football with a training invention.
Just a few months after it was launched, the Rebound Box has been taken up by top football clubs across the country, and even further afield.
Wolves fan Luke Porter, of Quinton, got the idea for the box – which can be used by training players to improve their touch – after seeing his team get beaten 3-0 by rivals West Brom in a depressing FA Cup tie last year.
He said: “Of the many things which went wrong that day, Wolves could not match West Brom’s ability to pass a ball at pace and have first touch control which did not lead to either loss of possession or a tackle.
“I started to think about what a training aid would look like and how it would perform to enable a player to practice and improve this.
“I had an idea of some sort of very performant rebounder more performant than the existing net type or flat board type of rebounders that are currently around and an idea that the ball needed to be delivered with pace and an unpredictability in trajectory and height.”
It took Mr Porter and his business partner, engineer Richard Suffield, 12 months to design and make a prototype of the Rebound Box.
And not olng after launching, it has already sold dozens of units to customers like Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Cercle Brugge, Walsall, Morecambe, Wolves and the David Beckham Academy.
The box is made from a design which combines a ridged panel (which acts like a toe poke on a ball) with the trampoline effect of a fixed panel similar to that used in golf technology.
“It was a surprise it’s taken off so well, because there are rebounders out there and the use of a wall to bounce the ball off is hardly unique,” said Mr Porter.
“In the days of old when England was producing a number of talents, kicking a ball against the wall was something that a lot of these players did.”
Mr Porter said setting up a business had been very difficult for himself and his business partner, as they did not have any previous experience in the world of business.
He said: “It’s a fledgling start. I have not launched a company before, and in this I was very lucky that Richard is someone who has worked in the engineering industry and has the experience with sourcing, and the rest.
“Setting up a company sounds like it should be relatively straightforward, but the devil is in the details.”
The Rebound Box has been a huge success with the training schools it has been sold to, and Mr Porter said his ultimate goal was to see it used by one of the “big four” clubs in the Premiership – Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Aston Villa’s training school – one of the most highly-respected in the country – said they were very impressed with the Rebound Box, after ordering 15 units.
“When I was at the Villa training ground [youth team coach] Tony McAndrew came up to me and said it was a fantastic training unit,” said Mr Porter.
The entrepreneur said he was looking to expand the company, which he currently runs in his spare time. He is looking into the possibility of arranging a capital injection.
He said: “In the longer term I hope that the success of the idea will mean that a much more suitable organisation will come forward and make it possible and affordable for all players of all ages to have the benefit of using the product in the UK.
“Get the kids off the X-Box and onto the Rebound Box. There is plenty of scope to expand the core design and with European and US patent protection an incentive exists for a significant international product launch in the real longer term. Maybe not so long."