THINGS are going well for Kyel Reid right now. On the pitch he’s in the form of his Bradford City career – his goal at Walsall last weekend is proof of that – and off it he couldn’t be busier.
The former West Ham winger is no ordinary footballer. Instead of golf and playing on FIFA – “I still make time to beat the lads at that don’t worry” – in his down time, Reid has several business interests and a family life to juggle.
The 25-year-old has a clothing label called iBelieve and owns three Caribbean restaurants in South London called Tickle Me, while partner Amy Brown is an actress and 18-month old son Icie-Rich is already a regular on our screens with mum in a series of commercials.
So it’s no surprise our chat quickly veers away from football, despite the Bantams’ brilliant start to the season that had them in the top six before today’s clash with struggling Tranmere.
“I do have a lot on but that’s the way I want it and football gives me the opportunity to do all of this,” said Reid, who scored one of the goals of the season in the Bantams’ 2-0 win at Walsall last weekend.
“The iBelieve clothing has been on the back-burner for a while but I’m starting to get it together again as it’s something I’m really passionate about getting off the ground.
“It’s all about trying to promote a positive message to youngsters and that kids can follow their dreams.
“I come from Deptford in south London and could easily have gone down a path that wouldn’t have been good for me.
“Fortunately I had people to lead me in the right direction and to West Ham and I want to try and help kids who don’t get that support and try and keep them off the streets where they might find trouble.
“I plan to use the money to reinvest in the community and that means a lot to me – football has allowed me to give something back.”
Reid’s career got off to a great start when he came through the ranks at Upton Park and played for England at U17, U18 and U19 level.
But after just three appearances in claret and blue and loan spells at Barnsley, Crystal Palace, Blackpool and Wolves, he took the plunge to walk away from the Hammers despite the offer of a new contract from then boss Gianfranco Zola. A move to Sheffield United failed to work out and he was just beginning to get back on track at Charlton when current Bantams boss Phil Parkinson was axed as the Addicks manager.
Reid was then released in August 2011, but Parkinson was quick to secure his services for a second time and take him to West Yorkshire. Reid has now made more 63 starts for Bradford – more than he had put together for the all of his other seven clubs combined.
“I owe the gaffer so much,” added Reid. “He’s always had a lot of belief and faith in me and even this week he had a little chat and said I’m capable of going and playing higher again. But only if I produce week in, week out.
“Hearing that was a big boost and I’d like to think I can achieve that with Bradford in the next year or two. A few people might be surprised that we’re going so well. I’m not.
“The squad hasn’t really changed since the success of last year with the cup run [when they were beaten by Swansea in the League Cup final] and the play-off final win.
“There’s an incredible togetherness in this squad, no shortage of quality and that’s a great mix to have.
“Nahki Wells has rightly got a lot of attention for his goal scoring record and James Hanson is a top striker as well.
“But the lads at the back have been so consistent and Jonny Mac (Jon McLaughlan) in goal has been immense.
“It’s up to us to build on that start now. We’ve got off to the start we all wanted and there’s a real confidence about the place still from last season. There’s no reason why we can’t go on again.”
So what about the stunning goal at Walsall? Anyone who hasn’t seen it should check it out on YouTube -his 25-yard shot hits the back of the net with such ferocity that it bounces yards back out of the goal.
But Reid revealed: “I’m just glad it went in. James Meredith was overlapping and was in acres if space and screaming at me to give him the ball.
“But it just opened up for me and I was never going to pass it to him.
“If it hadn’t gone in he would have gone mad! As soon as it left my boot though I knew it was in. I caught it sweetly and thankfully it flew in the top corner.
“It’s probably the best I’ve scored in my career and that’s now two big goals in two big wins. There’s plenty more to come hopefully.”