You started out at Manchester City. What are your memories of your time there?
Being a born and bred Manchester United fan, City wasn’t a club I was looking to attract but beggars can’t be choosers. My mate persuaded me to go to a City training camp during the school holidays where I was scouted by Steve Eyre. It was Steve who set the foundations for my football story. I believe Steve is working for Huddersfield Town now. The only memory that stands out for me is when I met Linford Christie and had my photograph taken with him. Unfortunately, it was just after training and I was still wearing my blues kit. Regrettably, it is a photograph that has never been on display in the Gleave family household for obvious reasons.
You joined Leigh RMI from Rochdale. How did you come to join Leigh?
(Believe it or not but Andy Nelson was my football psychology teacher at Rochdale). My manager was Chris Willcock and for the later stages of my time at Dale, Chris was working with the current Salford City College football coach Andy Thorp. Keith Hill was appointed the new youth team manager and it was Keith who decided to release me, nevertheless Andy Thorp then got me to sign for Leigh RMI whilst I studied my A-levels. This was then when Steve Eckersley became my coach and infamous Scotty ‘Midfield-Maestro’ Mason came into my life!
You were nominated as FA Cup 1st qualifying player of the round after you came of the bench to score a last minute winner away at Rossendale United to win 4-3. Tim Lovejoy was the nominee for the award; how did he know to nominate you?
Tim was one of a six-man selection panel who nominate the players whose performances are then voted for by supporters on the FA’s official website. The FA panel comprised of FA Cup hero Ricky George, E.ON’s Executive Director Graham Bartlett, BBC Radio 5 live presenter Mark Chapman, The Daily Star’s Sports Editor Howard Wheatcroft and TV personality and FATV presenter Tim Lovejoy, who picked me for the title. Unfortunately I came second on the votes losing out to a goalkeeper that scored a bicycle kick.
A few weeks later the Uni team did a version of Crossbar Challenge to send to Tim and the SoccerAm team. Sadly they didn’t show it on the programme but it’s available to see on Youtube.
Your move to Formby coincided with your move to the University of Liverpool. What was your experience your like with the squirrels?
My degree is a BEng (Hons) in Electrical Engineering and Electronics. During my second year at University a new first team coach was appointed- Mark ‘Mad-dog’ Maddox. Mark is a top guy! Even though I was a Manc and Mark was a Scouser we hit it off straight away, laa .It was boss! Mark was the Formby manager at the time and so… I signed for the squirrels.
At Uni you were first team captain running four teams and 65 players. How did you get that gig? What were you studying that allowed the time to do that?
Each year there is an AGM for each sport where the University Sport Liverpool staff and players attend, here the players vote for and new Club Captain/President along with his supporting staff, Vice-Club President, Web-designer, and Treasurer Etc. I was nominated for President in my 3rd year but I had to decline due to work load, however in my final year I was nominated again and even though work load increase I couldn’t resist. My love for football took over. We got the 1st team promoted in to the highest league in the University’s history, along with 2nd team promotion, the 3rd team reaching playoffs, and the 4th reaching mid-table after the previous year’s promotion. It was a great achievement by the entire club; I believe it was down to a great work ethic and close friendships.
You represented England Universities, is this similar to the team that players at the world student games? Do you have any good memories from playing in that side?
Each year up to 6 players are nominated from each university to go for England University trials. The trials are held in the three regions of the country Northern, Midlands & Southern. 20 players are selected to represent each region in a 3 day tournament held at Warwick Sport Centre in Coventry. This is then when England University squad is selected. Even throughout the trials you are looked after like a pro and I must admit it was a surreal experience putting on an England shirt.
You returned to Leigh Genesis. How well did you do second time around?
My return to Leigh Genesis was down to Mark Maddox, he moved from Formby to Leigh and I was one of the players fortunate to go with him. One of my favourite memories second time round was my injury time equaliser in front of a 2,100+ crowd against high flying Chester FC at the Exacta Stadium. The travelled up with 3 other players and we got lost en-route, only to arrive 20mins before kick off. Mark had the hairdryer treatment ready for our fashionably late arrival. I started on the bench stuffing my face with sweets along with Steve Brockley. Whilst sat in the dug-out Steve leaned over grabbed some sweets and said ‘I reckon you’ll snatch something for us today Ricky’.
Then came a move to Curzon Ashton. How did a move into futsal come about?
I joined Curzon Ashton when I returned home to Manchester from University. At the time I was on the graduate scheme for the North West Electricity Board, unfortunately the day after I signed for Curzon I was sent to work in the Lake District for 6 months so I never got any game time with Curzon.
You played Liverpool Futsal club, how do the necessary skills differ between the full and small sided game?
I still play for Liverpool Futsal in the National League; League matches are played on Sundays so it doesn’t affect me playing 11-a-side. With the smaller playing field and reduced team size, each player has more involvement in the game and touches on the ball. It is played with a smaller/heavier reduced bounce ball that requires fast foot movement. I think Futsal helps develop ball control, quick thinking, passing as well as dribbling, balance and concentration.
Your goal is to reach the England Futsal national team. Where are they ranked in the terms of world teams.
I don’t think England is ranked very high in terms of world teams as it is still being developed in this country. Futsal is hugely popular in South America & Europe, Many of the top world class footballers played Futsal in their youth and credit it with supporting their footballing development; players of the calibre of Pele, Zico, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Lionel Messi to name but a few of the South American legends all played Futsal. On the European stage, Cristiano Ronaldo, Deco, Xavi, Fabregas are amongst many others have played Futsal to develop their skills. I’ve just read through this and I sound like a Futsal PR haha. England Futsal is my goal.
You joined West in September, I believe it was Steve Brockley who brought you to the club. How did that happen?
I had stopped playing 11-a-side football really and was focussing on Futsal but when that text came from Steve, after discussing it with my better half I decided to dig out my boots and have a dabble. I haven’t looked back since. I’m enjoying my time at WD&C.
You have six goals from 12 appearances in midfield so far, would you say that is the key aspect of your game?
I don’t really know if I have a key aspect of my game. I’m not afraid to try something new on the pitch and I always give 100%. My role model is Paul Scholes on and off the field but since I found out we pay our own fines, I’ve toned down my tackling.
Have any games stood our for you so far?
I really enjoyed playing away against AFC Liverpool; we needed some points on the board and we showed great character to come back away from home. Every point is crucial in the league.
Finally what has been your favourite moment in your time at the club so far?
It has to be the ‘Pottsy’ song after the game. His pitch and ability to move easily from low notes to high without struggling is sublime. A master class on vocal tone, control, power, resonance, stamina, confidence and range that would give Susan Boyle a run for her money haha