The Not So Secret Footballer #3: Close to a deal

It is time for Jack Midson‘s third diary entry, chronicling his summer pursuing the next step in his professional football career following release from Oxford United. Jack answers a few of your questions including his pick for the standout League Two team this year and reveals that he may already be close to signing for his next club…

Many thanks for your response to the articles so far. There have been a lot of questions sent through and one of the most popular asks who my League Two Team of the Year is.

Generally I go for the teams who have won their respective leagues as they have proven themselves to be the most consistent over the course of the season and are normally worthy winners. But special mentions must go to teams that do well unexpectedly and those that are written off straight away.

I haven’t been following the Championship or League One that closely.The league I was most familiar with because I was playing in it was League 2 and my team of the season is Stevenage.

Although Chesterfield, Bury and Wycombe all got promoted automatically, Stevenage have gained promotion via the play-offs in their first season. They have achieved this without massive resources, not changing their squad too much and by keeping a consistent team week in, week out.

Their alleged bully boy nature and time wasting tactics have been in the news but their approach has worked and if that’s what has to be done to succeed, then so be it. Stevenage have certainly succeeded. Their manager has backed up what he has said and set out to do so fair play to them all.

A special mention to Torquay also. Having only been promoted two years ago, they also reached the play-offs showing how strong the top of the Blue Square Premier league is. The hardest bit is getting out of it. Torquay knocked me out of the play-off semi-final the year they got promoted when I was playing at Histon, so I’m pleased for them having done so well.

In answer to other questions, I know how to keep my fitness levels up as I am a qualified personal fitness instructor and used to coach full time in schools so I know a lot about exercise. I have always kept myself fit but I know pre-season should be used to make sure adequate rest time is taken to let those little niggles repair properly.

In regard to finding a new club, I have had managers saying they are interested but, without trying to discredit any of them, you never know if they are entirely serious until they put something on paper. I’m sure most of their initial interests are genuine but factors affect them going any further, such as meetings they might be having with their chairmen and/or the board of directors, as well as other players becoming available. Managers that come and meet me are obviously keen and some have been very honest. I have been impressed with what some of the managers are looking to do to take their clubs forward.

Every season a lot of players become available but this year there seems to be even more than usual. This can be hard for a player like myself, preferably wanting to stay in the league but knowing that there could be League One players available if they have been released.

You have to try and sell yourself to managers but from my experience before signing for Oxford two years ago and this pre-season finding a new club, managers already know enough about players and have been following their progress for years. This was new to me but makes sense really and is actually quite flattering when you find this out!

I have more meetings early this week that may ultimately seal my future so stay tuned. It is possible that you may find out who I’ve signed for before my next article, but I will explain all in more detail and let you know the reasons for it if this is the case.

Free agent news

Jack has effectively been replaced at Oxford by the former Oldham Athletic attacker Deane Smalley, who rejected a new deal at Boundary Park to move to the Kassam Stadium. Smalley impressed on loan at Chesterfield in their title-winning season, scoring 12 times in 29 appearances.

Perhaps the most surprising – and best – League Two signing so far this summer is the return of Adebayo Akinfenwa to Sixfields. Northampton have re-signed Akinfenwa from Gillingham and he should now form a fearsome partnership alongside Burton Albion’s Shaun Harrad.

Ishmel Demontagnac has signed for Notts County following his release from Blackpool. Here is a picture of Demontagnac’s left shoulder next to a Bristol City player. Oops.

David Prutton has left relegated Swindon Town to remain in League One with Sheffield Wednesday. He doesn’t look too happy about it but Gary Megson will expect to build a better side for his first full season back at Hillsborough.

Inspired in part by The Guardian’s The Secret Footballer series.

Follow Jack Midson on Twitter and check out his website as well…

The Seventy Two
The Seventy Two published an outstanding series of articles about the Football League between 2010-12 and was the brainchild of Leicester City fan, David Bevan. As well as collaborating with The Two Unfortunates on the Football League Blog Network and a mammoth 2011-12 season preview, the site featured a host of leading bloggers and David was rewarded with a nomination in the 2011 Football Supporters’ Federation awards. Latterly, he was joined as co-editor by Joe Harrison and TTU is happy to present this archive of the site’s output.

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