The Not So Secret Footballer: Readers' Q and A
It’s been a while since AFC Wimbledon striker Jack Midson wrote for us. He’s been fairly busy to be fair, bagging goals for his club to the extent that he is currently joint top goalscorer in League Two. Nevertheless, Jack has been kind enough to take a few moments out to answer a few of your questions.
What do you miss most about your previous club Oxford?
What I miss about Oxford is mainly the ground. It was a lovely place to play home games and is more like a Championship ground than a League Two ground. I also miss the whole area of Oxford – I loved living there and would like to live there again later in my life. The majority of the fans were also brilliant and I miss the massive support at home and away games.
How about another of your former clubs Dagenham and Redbridge?
My time at Dagenham was good. It gave me an insight into professional football and I played with some very talented players who became friends for life. It has changed a lot since I was there, although the same manager is there (John Still) that I played under. They did really well to gain promotion to League One but unfortunately they are now sitting near the bottom of the League Two table. I hope they don’t go down and I’m sure they will be okay.
What was it like to go out on loan to non-league clubs early in your career?
I’ve been on loan a few times to non-league clubs. It helped me play regular games, which I wasn’t doing at the time and that put me back in the shop window to get noticed by other clubs. Going on loan to league clubs was the best thing though, to give me more experience in league football and get more appearences and goals under my belt.
Do you wish you had done anything differently to try to establish yourself in the professional game at an earlier age?
There is not a lot I would have done differently to get into the league earlier – I never normally regret things as it could all have turned out worse. Some of my progression was out of my control.
When I was about 18 I started playing regular games in Stevenage’s first team and we reached the FA Trophy final at Villa Park. I was playing well but my contract was coming to an end and I wasn’t picked to play in the final. I can only think that the manager was worried that I was going to play well, get noticed and not sign a new contract with Stevenage. Maybe that moment could have changed my career path slightly.
I also decided not to go full time at Dagenham when I was about 20 as I couldn’t commit financially. Maybe this also could have had an impact on me reaching league football earlier.
Do you watch any particular players to try to learn from them?
Not really. This is mainly due to not having much time to watch many games as I have football commitments myself. But occasionally I see some highlights of games and see strikers that impress me and I think to myself that I’ll have to try that in training or in the next match.
What has been your favourite moment so far at AFC Wimbledon?
Probably the first game of the season – just being part of the first game back in the league and part of Wimbledon’s history was special.
Who is the most talented player you have played alongside?
When I was younger, I played district and county schools football and used to play up front with David Bentley. I also played with Craig Mackail-Smith who went on to bigger and better things and has been linked to Premier League clubs for a while now.
What is the best goal you’ve ever scored?
It is hard to highlight just one. I remember a 30-yard left foot lob that I scored playing for Histon against Oxford that probably got me a move to Oxford and another chance at full-time football.
What about a favourite away ground?
It seems just as hard to highlight just one favourite away ground that I’ve played at. Bradford have a massive stadium and it wasn’t that long ago that they were in the Premier League. Oxford and Swindon are also always nice grounds to go to. I went to Upton Park last year in the Carling Cup which is a great stadium. Of course, I’ve also played at Wembley which can be classed as an away ground – and it doesn’t get any better than that!
What is it like playing at a lower level when teams like Crawley spend huge amounts of money?
Most players’ attitudes towards big-spending teams like Crawley and Fleetwood is not that much different to their attitudes towards other clubs. It is spoken about occasionally and rumours go around about how much money their players are on, but to me it doesn’t really matter and I approach games against them as I would any other game.
Do you have a favourite football book?
I haven’t read many books on other pro footballers, mainly because I’m not a massive reader and it is probably something I’ll have more time for when I finish my football career. I heard Paul Merson’s book is a good read so maybe that’s where I’ll start. If anyone can recommend any other books, I’d appreciate it.
What would you like to do after you finish your playing career?
I would like to stay in the game after my career has ended, whether it be in coaching or management. I have plans to get as many qualifications as possible to open up more opportunities for me. I also have plans to play full time football for as long as possible, then maybe play part time somewhere to finish my career off. Eventually I could take over as the manager of the club I finish playing for.