Interview with football’s Andy Wright

What’s your position in the football club?

I’m captain for the first XI where I play central midfield and I’m also one of two coaches for some of the football sides.

When did you first start playing?

I started playing when I was young in seven a side teams and then in full sides from the age of about 12/13. I had a couple of spells with some youth sides for Scottish clubs like Stirling Albion and played right through school until University. I also had a year playing in Germany on my gap year playing with a local side which was a great experience when I was out there working in a school, with the facilities and standard of play both being excellent.

What would you say are the most crucial qualities needed for the modern day midfielder?

Well for starters you’ve got to have a good engine on you; you’ve got to be able to put in a shift for 90 minutes as you’re pretty much the heartbeat of the team. Composure is also essential, and I think those two things sum up the role quite well. Obviously these days you have a lot different types of midfielders given the modern day formations which provide different roles, especially defensive midfielders who are a bit of recent phenomenon, the best example being Claude Makelele. To be a good central midfielder you don’t necessarily have to be a box to box midfielder like Steven Gerrard, as good as it is to have a player like that in your team. If I had to cite a certain midfielder as an inspiration for how I play I’d say Makelele was up there. In terms of how I play he’s the kind of player who I regard as an idol.

Could you run through the set up here at Holloway for Men’s Football?

Well Men’s football runs six teams with the top sides playing in the ULU league and the BUCS league whilst the lower sides play just in the BUCS leagues. It’s a very busy schedule especially as we’re the biggest club on campus. Speaking for the 1sts we have Monday and Thursday training sessions, and games on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so that’s the majority of the week.

Do you feel you get enough time to prepare each week?

It is tough because obviously the games come thick and fast. Luckily we have external coaches who come in and run some of the sessions who have been excellent. For me on the Mondays when they come in its good because I can focus on myself as a player, but I also enjoy running the sessions on the Thursday. As the games come thick and fast I think I would prefer a bit more time but you just have to make do with what you’ve got.

How many players have you got across all the squads?

Well each squad tends to have about 17-18 players, so over a hundred across all the squads, which is great because with the amount of niggles you pick up at University level having good back-ups is essential. It’s great having so many guys who want to play, and being able to provide them the opportunity to get into a side and play at least once a week. University football is played at a very high level so it’s very competitive.

Do you feel you’ve got the facilities and players to go really far this year?

I think at any University you have to be prepared for losing lots of players at the end of each year, so you’re constantly re-building which affects your capabilities of getting any real consistency year after year. I’m delighted with my squad this season and also with the coaches. The pitches take a bit of a battering especially during the winter, but that’s part and parcel of playing at a University where there is so much sport. Having said that an Astroturf would be ideal!

When I came in to the University team in first year the club was very strong, possibly punching above their weight given the size of Holloway. Last year was more of a re-building period and that’s what I want to continue this year, and leave a strong foundation for football here in years to come. For this season, call it over-confidence if you want but when I look at our team and the opposition we’re coming up against I definitely go into every game thinking that we can win every one. Especially in our BUCS division, I feel we’ve got a great chance to get promoted again, and with the ULU league it’s a competition I’ve won before and am desperate to again. We’re not there to make up the numbers.

Is it a real ambition to be the most successful club on campus?

I think it’s an added bonus, but it’s certainly not something we think about when we’re going through the season. In my mind there’s a lot of empathy between all the clubs and we all want each other to be successful. Men’s football has been really consistent at winning trophies, and it’s great to see other sides doing well, especially for us with Women’s football.

Do you plan to stay involved with football after you’re done?

I’d like to carry on playing, absolutely. I have such an extensive background in the game that I feel I could succeed as a coach, but for now that’s something further down the line. And being in my last year, I want to be as strong a player as I can given the amount of training and game time that I’ve got here. Out in the real world I’m not going to get to the same opportunity so I’m hungry to be as successful as I can and help leave the club standing on some solid foundations by the time I’m gone.

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