NLW #3: Interview with Eastbourne Town's Ryan Storrie
For every one player that is offered a professional contract, a further thirty will not be given the chance and most end up playing the game at a lower level. With clubs now investing more money in bringing in youngsters from abroad to fill up places in their academy, there has never been a worse time to try and make it as a professional footballer.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. Football in the non-leagues is surprisingly good quality, and played by people who have a genuine love for the game. As part of our focus on Non League Week, the superb The Ball Is Round blog have very kindly contributed this interview with Ryan Storrie, who they sponsored last season whilst he was at Lewes, on what it is like to be a non-league player.
So how did you end up at Eastbourne Town?
I started off as everyone does in local football, and was chosen to represent Sussex schools and then Sussex FA in county games. I also played in the Brazilian Soccer School national side (Micah Richards also played for them). I went for a few trials here and there before ending up at Lewes, which I was chuffed with as I was born down the road in Brighton. I made my debut away at Kettering Town.
In 2008 Dave (Wheeler) and I went on a weeks trial at Southampton which went well. We were invited back for the 2009/10 pre-season but all of the turmoil surrounding the Saints meant we started the season back at Lewes. Its was a good club and Jason (assistant manager) was the manager I played under for Sussex FA so when he asked I jumped at the chance.
However, I didn’t really get the opportunities I wanted to play in my favourite position – I was often asked to fill in at full back, so I decided to move on down the road to Eastbourne Town. Since then things have gone OK – although staying up at the end of the last season was touch and go!
You must have played in some rough places, against rough teams so what is the worst memory of playing non league football?
Probably how some average or poor players think they are really “big time” , especially when teams have some class players how have been around and done it yet stay down to earth – Anthony Barness at Lewes is a great example of a model player at this level – played at the highest level yet still humble with his surroundings.
With more ex-Football League teams coming into the Blue Square there are some decent grounds around. So what is the best, and conversely worst ground you have played at?
I didn’t get to play at any of the ex-league grounds during our season in the Blue Square Premier (I once played in a FA Youth Cup game at St Andrews but that doesn’t count). But I’d say New Lawn, home of Forest Green Rovers was best because it was my full debut, the pitch was fantastic and I had a good game.
The worst – a harsh question but probably Worthing United who we played this pre-season with Eastbourne town. It was simply impossible to play football due to the wind – even though it was a calm sunny day!
You have obviously played with some decent players in your time with the County FA and at Lewes, but who is the best player you have played with or against?
The best player I have been lucky enough to have played with is undoubtedly Anthony Barness just because of what he has achieved in the game and the way he goes about himself in games and training. Although Ashley Robinson, who I am now playing with at Eastbourne Town, is probably the most talented player I’ve played with.
As for against – well, as a winger myself, I loved playing against Alfie Potter when we played Kettering Town. He killed us. Also Ryan Hall at Bromley last year when they beat us 3-0. He has now got a move to Southend United – he was quality.
Non League games are not know for their massive crowds which means you can hear what supporters say about you very clearly. What is the best put down from crowd?
Well if someone saying they are going to kill you in a pre-season friendly counts as a put down then I suppose it was that last year! But being not so tall and having hair on the ginger side I do ask for some banter from the crowd! If people are talking about me, they must like me in some way!
How long do you think you will play Non-League for?
Hopefully after a spell in the Premier League with Chelsea I will come back to the non-leagues to finish my career!
You can catch Ryan at the fantastic Saffrons ground where he torments Isthmian League One South defenders playing for Eastbourne Town. He will be the one with the police protection from the death threats!
Huge thanks to The Ball Is Round, a site well worth a visit and you will be back for more.