You probably know LDN Movements from numerous instances of him nutmegging unsuspecting pedestrians all over the world, always with a smile on his face. But behind the YouTube sensation is a familiar story of academy football, pragmatism, and an unwavering desire to live and breathe football.
“You can nutmeg everyone in the world, but nothing compares to playing competitively.”
These characteristics have afforded London-born Jamie Shawyer one million subscribers on YouTube for doing what he loves: playing football. This is a love shared by millions of kids in England’s capital, with many on display in the new Crystal Palace centric Channel 4 documentary Football Dreams: The Academy.
PENALTY caught up with the man behind the megs to explore his own academy journey and delve deep into why the documentary is essential viewing for any football fan.
Having spent time in football academies all across London - including Chelsea, QPR and Millwall – Shawyer is no stranger to the ingrained culture of football in London. He told us: “I feel like if you grow up in London, it’s hard to not like football.”
Despite not becoming a top-flight footballer himself, Jamie knew the sport was going to remain a huge part of his life. “Football’s always been incredibly important. I knew when I was around 17 or 18 that whatever avenue I went down in my career, it was always going to involve football.”
Many of LDN Movement’s videos see the skilful baller attempt to perform his tricks at youth academies all across the globe, including the setups at Barcelona and PSG. Jamie said that the one thing that always surprises him is “how fast their feet are!” He went on to describe a mere 13-year-old at Real Madrid who he claims to have had the best footwork he’s ever seen.
When watching Football Dreams: The Academy, Shawyer was similarly blown away. In particular, by the state-of-the-art facilities: “It’s just so high tech, especially from when I was at an academy. I think that’s the main difference. The testing for example. These kids are tested on every attribute of their game and examined for ways to improve.”
For Jamie, this is in part due to the nuance of the footballing philosophies at the top level: “If a first-team starts playing it out from the back, it trickles down all the way to the under 8’s – it’s incredibly impressive.” Tech was not the only standout aspect Jamie commented on from the documentary. The YouTuber particularly admired the aftercare facilities at Crystal Palace for kids who are released by the academy.
“If there was one thing I could click my fingers and recommend other clubs to do, it’s that. I remember when I was first not accepted by an academy, it ruined me. I was 12 or 13 and for two or three weeks I didn’t speak to anyone at school. Sometimes you don’t see a plan b or anything. It can cause your world to crumble.”
This pressure is on full display in Football Dreams: The Academy and drew Shawyer back into the world of youth football. “Obviously I’ve been there and done it. But you forget how much pressure these kids are under to perform week in, week out. You know it all comes down to one moment at the end of the season for contracts. It’s make or break. That was definitely an eye-opener.”
When asked about why every football fan out there should watch the Channel 4 doc, Jamie summarised:
“You’ll see BTS stuff you won’t get to see anywhere else. You might be watching a PL match where a 16-year-old makes their debut, and you’ll be sitting there with your mates like ‘Why him?’ If you watch this documentary, you’ll see how the 16-year-old gets to that point. How hard they have worked their whole childhood. It’s a great insight into exactly that.”
You can watch Football Dreams: The Academy on All 4 here.