Monday, 8 September 2014


Tamworth defender Mike Townsend gave us an in-depth review of The Lambs' 13/14 season. He also previewed the current 14/15 campaign.

How do you feel last season went for the club?
Last season was a difficult one for us at Tamworth F.C, it ultimately ended in relegation for our club to the Conference North. It wasn't for the want of trying but a combination of injuries to several key members of the squad and a disappointing run of results with younger players, many of which were loans saw us not do enough to escape the drop. The management with the Chairman and Director's support pulled out all of the stops to get us to safety and many of the young loan players we took on board will have very bright futures in football. What shined through most for me was how the management of Dale Belford and assistant Steve Farmer managed the younger generation through this difficult period. They continuously encouraged the young lads, guiding them and supporting them, even with our backs to the wall and when we were up against it most. I think that in the next couple of years when their careers progress they will really come to understand what they both did for them, not seen much in football these days, it's too easy to crack the whip and sell players out, something our gaffer refused to do. He gained a lot of respect for that. The relegation has quickly been turned on its head by us all at Tamworth, we see an opportunity to push for success this season. We played the first game against Harrogate at their place and easily matched a team tipped for the top, so we have set our stall out to be a solid outfit at this standard.
What were some of the highs and lows of the 2013/14 campaign for you personally?
I joined Tamworth just after Christmas last season, the gaffer got in touch and offered me a trial. I'd had a nightmare previous season, my last at Hereford United where I suffered back problems which ultimately lead to surgery. I had been playing with slipped discs and then later a total disc rupture and it got too much so I went under the knife. I was made to wait to the end of the season so my rehab spilled into last seasons start and I struggled to get a club so started work in the local foundry. I never gave up on my dream to play football, having been a pro for practically ten years I didn't want it to end that way so I worked hard all day then went to the gym and rehabilitated on my own. It was hard but I got fit and the gaffer welcomed me aboard. After a month I made my debut away at a former club of mine Barnet and I felt like I hadn't been away for all those months. It was emotional for me, I kept it quite and I had a tear away from the lads as it means so much for me to play football, I would say that match was my major high for last season. 
The negative would be another injury of misfortune I suffered against Forest Green at home, another back injury which ended another season for me. Their goalkeeper kneed me in the back when claiming a cross and I cracked a vertebrae, the same as Brazilian superstar Neymar suffered in this summers World Cup. Instantly I knew it was bad, it happened just before half time, I came out and managed twenty minutes of the second half, the pain was crippling and it got too much. Usually I can shake things off but I completely seized up and enough became enough. I was down and felt lifeless watching us slipping under but I will come back again, it's just in my nature and the way I'm built.
How has pre-season gone for you on a personal level so far?
Pre season was going fine until I suffered a slight calf and hamstring injury. I'm very close to a return and hopefully won't miss much football.
We're quickly approaching the 2014/15 kick-off, what are you looking forward to most this season?
I'm looking forward to a successful season at Tamworth, we have a great set of people here it's a privilege to be a part of it. We have recruited right, we have a set of players with the right attitude and ability this year. When we look round the dressing room there's loads of football league and conference experience. What shines through the most is the team spirt we have, a strong team spirit can take you as far as you want. The management have put the right characters together here, it's exciting this year and we will be pushing as hard as we can to win every match we can and enjoying our football.

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