You made your debut for West as a substitute in the FA Cup against Burscough. What were the circumstances around you joining West Didsbury?
Yes sadly it wasn’t a debut to remember getting beat 3-0. Towards the end of last season whilst playing for Irlam FC we came across West Didsbury. At the time I had no intention of leaving Irlam, however as Steve Eckersley and Andy Nelson were in charge it was great to cross paths with them again as the last time I saw them was during my time at Leigh R.M.I.
As a junior you played for Bolton Wanderers, what memories do you have of your time there?
The time I spent at Bolton Wanderers was a fantastic experience and something that will stay with me for a long time, especially the unbelievable goal I scored for Manchester United whilst wearing a Bolton shirt. I was playing full back at the time and as the ball was fizzed across the box I tried to side foot the ball out for a corner after hearing the incredibly quick winger breathing down my neck, this resulted in the ball coming of my heel and flying into the top corner.
A player and friend who shared this experience with me, Alex Marrow now plays his football at Blackburn Rovers was released alongside me at Bolton, we then went our separate ways and a few years later we became team mates again playing for our county Lancashire. Here we went on to win the league and county cup.
You joined Leigh RMI (to become Leigh Genesis) and were part of the much heralded youth setup there. Is this where you first joined forces with Rick Gleave?
Yes, Leigh R.M.I is where Ricky and I joined forces for the first time. I remember his first training session with the club as he flicked it through one of the lad’s legs in the warm-up, from there on I knew he was my sort of player. We shared a lot of good memories playing for Leigh R.M.I youth team, reaching the best position in the FA youth cup the club had ever got to, coming agonisingly close to beating Morecambe FC in the first year and York FC in the second year.
Current Assistant Manager Steve Eckersley was in charge of the youth team what was he like as a coach?
Steve as a coach, manager and as a person has played a huge part in my footballing career. He had high expectations and always found a way of getting the very best out of his players. Steve has always been firm but fair and as a player you were made aware if you had done something wrong but at the same time if you had done something right. Being given the opportunity to be coached by Steve again at West was certainly one of the main reasons for joining West.
You moved to Cammell Lairds. Was this when you moved to John Moores University?
Yes living in Liverpool for 3 years brought a lot of good memories. During my time there I represented JMU football team and it was from here I was asked to play for Cammel Lairds F.C who are currently Evo Stick North League. At the time Alex Hey was the manager and I made my debut against Nantwich Town coming off the bench to grab a goal back. Sadly it wasn’t enough, getting beat 3-2 and being exited out of the competition. A stand out moment of my time at Lairds was going back to play against my old club Leigh Genesis in, thankfully I was winning side come the end of the 90 minutes. It was after this game however where Alex Hey announced his resignation from Lairds which led to the appointment of Tony Sullivan. Two very different styles of management but both made my time at Lairds very enjoyable even being mancunian!
You then took a break from the game…
I decided to call it time at Lairds when I moved back to Manchester and became involved in the teaching profession. During this time I found it hard to commit to training twice a week whilst playing match days on a Saturday. However a friend of mine who I met on the teaching course, who currently still plays for Irlam invited me to come down to the club. Steve Nixon the manager at Irlam FC a great person I must say and he gave me the opportunity to start playing again after over 12 months out through understanding my work commitments and being flexible with training.
You spent last season at Irlam including playing against West in the final game when West needed victory for promotion to the Premier Division. Were you and the other players much aware of what was at stake? Did this make you more determined to try and win the game?
It was the final 3rd of the season I played for Irlam. As a club we were aware of West Didsburys form going into the game and what was at stake for them. Our season didn’t have the same highs as West and I remember us thinking in the changing rooms before the game that we needed to prove a point to ourselves and show everybody that we are club who could fight against the top teams in the league. I remember coming off the pitch to an applauding crowd at West after losing to a late goal by Callum Jones (believe it or not) and thinking what a great game that was. It was after speaking to Andy at the end of the game that I thought I would like to be involved in this club.
You have played across the midfield for West, is there a favoured position you like to take up?
I arrived at West originally under the expectations of playing at the back. The manager said to me that he needed me to play in midfield against AFC Blackpool. We won 2-0 and the manager said that he would like me to continue in this role. I’ve enjoyed playing in the centre of park however to be honest I’ll be happy to play anywhere.
We don’t keep statistics for assists (unfortunately) but you are certainly creating a few for the rest of the team. Your set pieces are becoming more and more un-defendable for the opposition. Is this something that you have worked on throughout your career or is it something that has come naturally to you?
It’s not something that I particular work on but I think wherever I have played I’ve always taken the free-kicks for the club. Sadly it doesn’t quite work like fantasy football and get points from assists.
Finally, since joining West Didsbury what has been your favourite moment to date?
It has to be the double win against Runcorn. I love playing in games like that and was still buzzing days after the match. The Pottsy song at the end with (Steve) Settles encore was the icing on the cake.