Occupation: Social Worker
Former clubs: Ryhope C.W. Chester-le-Street Town, Manchester Metropolitan University, Old Mancunians
You started life at Chester-le-Street Town? Do you have any stand out moments from your time at the club?
I was at Ryhope C.W. when I was 17, then when the manager left at the end of the season to join Chester Le Street Town he took me and a few others with him. They’re a big club in the north-east and I saw it as a good opportunity to try and play Northern League, we had a good season from what I remember finishing 2nd or 3rd and winning the County Cup. I wasn’t involved in their youth side but I know they were very good. Danny Graham was there at the same time I think and another lad went on to sign for Reggina in Italy. They had a good coach but he wasn’t my biggest fan however, probably because of my penchant for yellow cards.
Next you were off to MMU, what were you studying? Did you continue to play football through your Uni days? How did you do?
Uni was amazing, everything about it I loved and football played a big part in that. I studied Criminology & Human Behaviour which has lead me to the career I’m in now but sport was also at the forefront of my university life. We had a good side too, winning the BUSA League twice whilst also competing in the National League. We had an American coach who’d been working in Uruguay come over and manage us in my final year which was interesting to say the least. I think he found the English culture more difficult to comprehend than his UEFA ‘A’ Licence he was taking! But alas, it ended slightly disappointingly for myself. After winning the league we were beaten away to Loughborough University, which is no disgrace, to miss out on a Universities Final place, and frustratingly i picked up an injury which meant I was an unused substitute for our final match, a cup semi-final against Maine Road FC.
The programme just seems to mention a mythical Anthony Potts character who just seemed, almost Callum Schofield-esque, turn up one day at training. How did you come to be involved at West Didsbury & Chorlton?
It was all a bit cloak & dagger really, I’d spent the last 15 months recovering from my 3rd knee ligament injury and to be honest I was tired of doctors and physios, I thought I’d give my body one last chance and if it wasn’t up to it I’d walk away from the whole thing. I’d made the decision to leave my old club as they clearly were missing me after such a long period out and I’d heard a couple of people mention West Didsbury so thought I’d have a dodge down. There was only Andy and a couple of others there when I arrived for pre-season training and I could tell he thought I was a complete chancer. I mean, who turns up for their first ever training session in a suit? Anyway, things went OK for me after a couple of games in the Reserves and I was with the 1st Team for the start of the season which I was delighted with. I made my debut away at Chadderton which became a rags to riches story within about 25 minutes for myself. My first involvement in the game was to receive a throw-in from Callum Jones, with absolutely no pressure whatsoever the ball went under my foot and was racing into open play. Not ideal if you’re playing Centre Half. Anyway, with the opposition striker know bearing down on goal I thought a simple arm across would fix this little conundrum, he went down like a ton of bricks, in the box and I was last man. I can only assume the linesman took pity on me as he gingerly waved play on. Fast forward 20 minutes and I scored with a header from a corner, composed myself and I suppose the rest, as they say, is history. For the record, Tommy Walsh scored 2 absolute blinders that day to wrap up the game 3-0.
Your first season as a West player who helped secure promotion and also collected a 1st Division Trophy winners medal. It must have been an enjoyable first season?
It was brilliant, in many people’s eyes I’m sure we over-achieved but the feeling amongst the lads was always that we could pull it off. The team spirit is fantastic and it’s no coincidence our form improved as the season went on. We were getting to know each other well and that was showing on the pitch.
You topped off the season with the Player of the Season award. That must have been a great way to round off a season with promotion and a trophy.
Yeah, I was chuffed to be honest! Not just because I’d won it but because I knew who I was up against. So many players had great season’s. The Schofield and Jones’ brothers, Woody, Lee Malkin, Mike Aston… it must have been very close, but yeah I was over-the-moon.
You broke your nose for the cause last season, how did that come about? You must have looked like you’d been battered for a few days after?
Yeah, it wasn’t pretty for a couple of weeks, I needed it re-broken and reset but it’s fine now. And the lads will tell you, apart from smashing far post header’s my face is also a regular source of income…haha!! It was a horrible game, away on a frozen pitch at Abbey Hey. It was an elbow that did the damage but not a malicious one I don’t think. We were 1-0 up at the time and I seemed to be off the pitch for an eternity. We conceded just as I was coming back on and ended up losing the match 2-1. We felt like we owed them one I think and have since managed to beat them in the 1st Division Trophy Final and knock them out of the FA Cup! So I reckon we’re evens.
You picked up your first goal of the season against Abbey Hey in the FA Cup, a terrific far post header capping off a terrific performance and the first ever man of the match award for West in an FA Cup match. It must have been a pleasing way to finish a historic day for the club?
It was, there’s certain games that you play in when you can feel the buzz and excitement around everyone and this was definitely one. Everyone wanted to play. Everyone wanted to win. The changing room seemed packed and Andy was hammering it into everyone to make sure they didn’t forget this day. I remember saying to Tommy in the tunnel before, ‘go out and score in The FA Cup lad!’ So to get my goal and a Man of the Match was special yeah.
Do you have any stories from our IOM trip?
As a little epilogue to this trip we ended up being late for the walk back to the airport. No matter though, I was with Steve Settle, who, no less than 24 hours ago I’d voted ‘Most Intelligent’ in my pre-match interview. “I have a map!” He proclaims, so myself, Steve, Lee Malkin, Mike Aston, Dale Newbrooke & Mike Kennedy embark on Settle’s ‘shortcut’ through the IOM countryside. I quickly realised that Settle knows about as much about map reading as I do about Nuclear Fusion. Nothing.
Something resembling an episode of 999 ensued and after jumping hay bales, running over train tracks and crossing a river barefoot we made it back to the departure lounge just in time for our last beer of the trip.