GP: I think the promise of the Western League and Project South West restructuring that we hope to see come to fruition in 2023/24 is very exciting and means that this next season is an opportunity that we and the players would ‘t have had otherwise. With, dare I say it, 2022/23 potentially being the last season of the West League as we know it, there is something particularly nice about our club being the oldest club in the League of West to play in its Premier Division. I think it’s a really nice end to our history with the WHL, and I also think now we’re in a situation where obviously there’s been a lot of talk about the merits of teams having to go to our friends in the distance. of Cornwall and so on, but now is our last opportunity to do so. If this North-South stage 5 materializes, we will not have these long journeys. And I think now we can look forward to next season thinking, ‘well it’s probably FA Cup and FA vase aside, our last opportunity to play Mousehole, play Helston, play Falmouth, Torpoint, everywhere somewhere else and it has to be something that, knowing it’s a short-term thing, we can appreciate.
IN: Now one last question, it’s not a question, really – normally, of course, on the podcast we talk to managers and last week we had Tom Smith, we also had Andy Crabtree up front -first of the final. One of the themes I have noticed in my conversations with Tom throughout the season is that he is keen to praise the volunteers at Welton Rovers, especially yourself for all the work you do. So, I thought we might have a chance to turn the tables now, Gareth. Considering what Tom has achieved this season, and of course with his assistant, Will Justin, what do these two mean to you and the football club?
GP: They are fantastic. I mean, when you look at him, Will Justin, he’s someone who came to us as a player at the end of the 2018/19 season, I think, before it was reduced. Sorry, no, the 2019/20 season that would be, as a goalkeeper, a great West League goalkeeper played for a ton of clubs. Helped us improve into a position where we needed to improve and fell in love with the club very quickly I think, felt welcome and enjoyed his time there. When he became Tom Smith’s assistant it was the perfect combination and Will’s knowledge of the Western League, his organization, his ability to communicate and get messages across to the players is fantastic. Tom is someone who has been with Welton Rovers since he was 16, me and Tom played in the same B team almost 15 years ago and that was when he was 16. Obviously he was a better footballer than me at the time so I’ve known Tom all this time, to see him play at Welton Rovers under the likes of Malcolm Beck for example, Nick Beaverstock, Clive Scott, several managers really decent. He’s a Welton Rovers supporter, he’s a Midsomer Norton lad and that means he knows our supporters, he knows our players, he knows how the club works and I couldn’t be happier there arrive with us at such a young age. , as well. And he’s someone I hope to be in charge of Welton Rovers for as long as – basically until he gets too good and has no choice but to leave. That’s what I hope. And my experience of helping run a football club is that it’s very rare that you get it right on and off the pitch at the same time. If things are going well on the pitch, then you struggle with things off the pitch and vice versa. And thanks to the hard work of our volunteers off the pitch, and an absolutely fantastic group of players with unquestionable character, the way they, you know, recovered from the disappointment of, well, throwing the league away basically . And Tom Smith being the same as, yes, I feel like the club is in safe hands, and that certainly makes my life and that of Welton Rovers chairman Malcolm Price and all of our committees and volunteers – it makes our existence much more fun and much easier.
GP: Thank you very much, Ian, and thank you for your work on the podcast. What we say about supporting a Western League club is a legitimate thing to do and it’s things like your podcast that prove that, and I know supporters, players and clubs across the Western League are truly grateful for this outlet. So thank you for your hard work throughout the season.
Full interview: http://toolstationleague.com/podcasts/