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  • 1 Post By TheLuckDuck

The Poacher-An Unexpected Journey

  1. The Poacher-An Unexpected Journey

    Not done a story about 1 specific player before, so here we go.
    “Please to have you on board, son” smiled Alan Matthews, the 48-year-old manager of Irish side Bray Wanderers as he shook my hand
    “Happy to be here, Boss” I replied, before grabbing my rucksack with training kit in and turning to make my way out of his cramped office
    “I’m sure you’re family’ll be over the moon, lad” he said as I walked through his door and turned left down the corridor
    “I’m sure they will” I called as he quietly closed the door and I started walking towards reception.

    I made my way out of the training ground and walked to the nearby bus stop with my bag slung over my shoulder. It didn’t take long before the bus arrived and I was on my way back to John’s house on the outskirts of the Bray city centre.
    I’d been spotted playing for my local side, Ely Rangers, back home in Cardiff by John Wilmott, an Irish scout who had come to watch a boy who had Irish heritage play against me. He had obviously been impressed by me so he invited me to Ireland and set me up with a week’s trial at Bray Wanderers. After a long week where my nerves almost got the better of me on more than one occasion, I was invited to the manager’s office and offered a contract, which I duly signed, tying me down to four years with the Irish club.

    The Player
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  2. Just over halfway through the season and I'm already being heavily criticised!

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    "Look at this" John said, reading the headline of the day's newspaper "If I was manager I wouldn't een consider picking Richards, Jesus Christ they're brutal!"
    "I know" I said glumly staring down into my porridge as John (the scout who is now my agent) continued to read the article detailing how I wasn't good enough for Bray and how I should go back to Wales due to my poor form (2 goals, 5 yellows in 19 league games).
    "Don't let this get you down, mate" John said "you're only young and you've got bags of potential, you can prove this lot wrong" he exclaimed, trying to keep me upbeat
    "I guess" I replied, my mood still quite low as I forced another mouthful of porridge down my throat before taking a gulp of tea "I'd best be off, then" I told John as I picked up my training kit before grabbing the keys to unlock my bike -the abuse on the bus had become a bit too much- and walking towards the door
    "See you at 4, mate" John shouted after me as I wheeled my bike out of the garage
    "See you" I shouted before starting the lonely journey to training.

  3. The good news just keeps rolling in...

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  4. End of Season 1

    Dear Aaron,
    Not the best début season for me, only scored 4 goals all season in all competitions, although I'm hoping to do better next season!
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    The team didn't perform too well either, finishing 11th in the table which put us into the relegation play-off where we played Shelbourne.

    Unfortunately, I had to sit out the game because I had damaged my foot towards the end of the season, I watched us put Shelbourne to the sword in the first leg, beating them 2-1 at The Carlisle Grounds (our home stadium) and I then watched us bet them 1-0 in the second leg to keep us up.
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    Unfortunately, the manager who signed me got sacked and replaced by some guy called Matt Dolan who kept us up.
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    I think I've improved as a player in my season over here, but I still miss home a bit, I'm still living with John and I'm still getting paid £5 a week to play for Bray.
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    Speak soon,

  5. Nice start, looking forward to seeing how you go

  6. 06.06.2015
    "Right then lads, time for a match I reckon" smiled Barry O'Connor as we caught our breath after a gruelling training session on the slick wet trining pitch. "I want the firsts to wear the green bibs and the reserves to wear the white ones and then I want you to line up as you would on Saturday. Got it?" he barked
    "Yeah" came the response from the players as we wandered towards the kit bag to grab our bibs.

    I ran to the centre circle whilst keeping the ball in the air, looking forward to the training match. ws in good form having scored in the last two games (against Drogheda and Dundalk). I heard Barry blow the whistle and I rolled it to my partner up top, young loanee Connor Ellis. He passed it back to Luke Gallagher in the midfield before a brief bit of keep-ball started. I ran up to the opposing centre-half before standing just off his shoulder, Ellis dropped deeper and received the ball, I turned to start running and Ellis played a great ball into my path, unfortunately due to the slickness of the ground it bounced just in front of me.

    Unfortunately I lunged in an attempt to get the ball under control, I missed the ball and felt an enormous pain in my knee.
    "AAAAGH" I screamed rolling in the floor clutching my leg in agony, Barry and the players thought I was joking until it dawned on them I was in real pain, the club's physio, Alan Gavin, was called straight away and I was taken to his office.

    After an hour or so of prodding and tests, I Alan had a grave look on his face
    "What is it" I asked
    "Damaged cruciate ligament" he said "No football for at least 10 months"

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    A few months later

    End of Season 2
    A better performance from Bray in the league, finishing eight this season, also got to the League Cup Semi-Final before losing 3- to St. Pats

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    A better season for me, up until the injury
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    I also fell as though I have improved, although not as significantly as I would have without the injury.
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    Feck's sake
    Last edited by TheLuckDuck; 02/05/2015 at 04:19 PM.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by PatrickLFC View Post
    Nice start, looking forward to seeing how you go
    Thanks mate, unfortunate injury though

  8. I'M BACK!
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    After 9 months of recovery I'm back with a bang with a goal in my first game back! Hopefully this is the season where I really push on and get 15+ goals for the team and maybe earn myself a move to England or Scotland

  9. 12.07.2016

    I've lived in Ireland for just over three and a half years now and it's fair to say my time here has been a bit up and down.
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    Ever since making my début against Shelbourne in a League Cup 1st Round defeat at the tender age of 14, I have been an important figure here at Bray.
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    Alas my time is finally up.

    4 offer have been made to the club regarding my services, from clubs in England and Scotland, all four have been accepted and I now have a decision to make.
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    Partick, Motherwell, Dundee United and Southampton have all offered me a contract, I think there's only one team that I can join.

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    I'm a Premier League player! Southampton manager Phillip Cocu made an offer I can't refuse (well, better than the fiver a week I was on at Bray) and I signed in a heartbeat. I'm only 17 years old and have much to prove, the journey has only just begun!

  10. After Southampton splashed the cash and made me the record sale at Bray Wanderers, I wasn't expecting much, despite this I was given two appearances of the substitutes bench and was selected in the Wales squad to face Luxembourg and Denmark...

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  11. 01.01.2017
    After over 3 months out with a damaged achilles tendon I was back in action with my first competitive start for Southampton.
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    My over two appearances for Southampton were a 10 minute cameo in a 3-2 loss at Stoke and a slightly longer appearance in a Europa League Qualifier against Luzern.

    My fist start went well, an ok rating in the paper the next day, an assist and it got the fans excited about the "young Irishman" (They think I'm Irish because apparently I have an Irish-sounding-Welsh accent).

    So onwards and upwards for Southampton! Or will Cocu send me out on loan somewhere?

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  12. 28.03.2017
    I was included in the Wales squad again and this time I fortunately wasn't injured. The game against Luxembourg allowed me to play alongside national heroes such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey and I was very proud to be there.
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    I also received recognition from former club Bray Wanderers, who I owe all of this to.

    Great to see @JoeGRichards00 making his Wales début tonight, he's come a long way since his debut for us 3 years ago, although some might argue the best stint of his career is in the past! #WALvLUX

  13. Wow a national team debut at 17!! Great stuff!

  14. Quote Originally Posted by Yeti01 View Post
    Wow a national team debut at 17!! Great stuff!
    Thanks mate, I never thought it would happen and that I would stay at Bray forever

    Also, I'm loving reading your BaP story, keep it up!

  15. That skin blerugh

    good stuff though

  16. End of 2016/17

    My first season in England went pretty well, I feel playing at Southampton around players such as James Ward-Prowse, Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic has really had a good effect on me and I feel I have improved as a result of this, the superior coaching and facilities have also helped.
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    I've played 6 games for Southampton, 1 start and 5 substitute appearances, I feel as though these cameo appearances in the Premier League and the Europa League have had a good effect on my development as a player, they have given me a platform to improve on my skills and to experience things I would never have had the opportunity to experience at Bray.
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    This also gave me the chance to play for my country, which was a dream come true for me, I struggled to hold back the tears as "Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" boomed around the Liberty Stadium.
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    Unfortunately, we missed out on European football next season so we will only be competing in domestic competitions, will this be good or bad for me?
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    My aims for the coming season are to improve, whether that is at Southampton or at another club on loan and to get a few more caps for Wales and hopefully a goal or two.

    MashedPotato likes this.

  17. This is fun to follow actually, keep it up!

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