Martin "Badger" Baker talked to goalkeeper Chris Weale on Monday 29th October, 48 hours after the FA Cup exit at Hayes.
Photo © 2019
MB: A painful question to start with, but what did you think of Saturday's game?
CW: From my own personal point of view I was gutted. It was one of those games where I had next to nothing to do and yet I conceded three goals and I got a bit down about that. I just felt really sorry for the fans - there were a lot of them up there and we didn't really produce on the day. We created a lot of chances, and on another day we would have walked away having won 4-2 or 4-3 probably.
MB: A good analogy would be that you probably had more work to do as a keeper in the games at Stalybridge and Dagenham, yet we came home with a draw out of those two yet on Saturday they had just four or five chances during the whole game.
CW: You always have games like that and I'm just glad we didn't have a result like that on one of my first games. You just have to keep on going and keep on playing. I felt sorry for the fans because about five years ago, I went to Merthyr Tydfil in a Fourth Qualifying Round and watched Yeovil on the terrace and it just seemed to be exactly the same balance of play as that game and I can remember how I felt coming out of that. That's the FA Cup and the sort of thing that happens, but it's just so disappointing to go out at such an early stage.
MB: Going into the game, do you think there was any kind of lack of passion on behalf of the players on Saturday?
CW: No, not at all - we just approached the game as best as we could. We weren't good enough on the day. I think you could tell that by the chances we created and by the possession that we had just how hard we were trying, and I think we had about 80 percent of the play. We just couldn't turn that possession into goals. Their keeper pulled off some great saves, particularly in the first half and Gilesy and Kim had chances, but it just wasn't our day. On another day we would have gone away with a victory. Hayes are on television now as well.
MB: I know - I guess that must hurt more, knowing that you had that experience up at Blackpool, and that if we'd been playing Wycombe, then Sky might have been showing that one live.
CW: Yes, but it's all in the past now though and there's nothing you can do about that.
MB: You're now five games into a run of being selected for the first team. Has that done you some good getting a consistent run of first team games under your belt? In the past you've got the odd half game or full game, but you've always known that Tony Pennock was going to be coming back.
CW: Yes, it's great to have a run. The defence get to know you and understand you. They start to suss out your strengths and so respond to you better. Then you just become used to being part of it. Hopefully it will carry on but I think the main thing is for me to enjoy it. I know I have to enjoy it, because it might not last as I don't know what the gaffer is going to do when Sheff is fit. I've got Steve Collis there as well, so I've got to keep playing well and to try and keep my place in the team. I feel like I am a first team player at the moment rather than last year where I knew that I was the second choice keeper and I knew what was going to happen. This year, I feel more involved within the first team squad.
MB: That was the point I was making - last season you could have kept six clean sheets in a row and I get the idea there would have always been the pressure to put Tony Pennock back in goal when he became available because he was the established Number One keeper. This season seems far less clear-cut and you know that you've got at least a chance of keeping the jersey when Jon comes back to fitness. You've got that chance to make Gary think a bit.
CW: That's right. The competition is very tough, and it makes you a better player. You have to keep focussed and do everything right - even in training. There's always pressure there although it's good pressure. We'll just have to wait and see what happens when Sheff gets back, but I'm enjoying it at the moment and I want it to continue.
MB: Jon Sheffield got injured at the Morecambe game - what was the whole feeling like in training in the couple of days that followed?
CW: Steve and myself didn't know what was going to happen until the Tuesday of the Margate game. He didn't tell us until the Tuesday morning of the Margate game so it was a bit nerve-wracking before that. I knew that would be the case when he brought Steve and Sheff into the club. But it's nice that the gaffer has put that kind of faith in me. Steve's a great keeper and I think he'll get his chance. On the Tuesday morning we were both really nervous, we didn't know what the gaffer was going to do, and it was quite a strange atmosphere.
MB: Were you old enough to go to the FA Cup game against QPR when we played them at the old ground?
CW: No, I think I was about five or six years old. I remember going shopping in the morning. We walked past the ground and we knew it had sold out. My mum didn't want me to go, because it would have been really packed, but as we were walking past, instead of us going, my mum went in and bought us each a rosette because they were selling them outside. My twin brother and myself both got one and we hung them up on our curtains in our bedroom window for about eight years and I don't think we took them down until I was about 13 or 14 years old. I remember she also bought a programme for us as well. Our car was parked over in Queensway in the car park there. I've still got the match day programme from that game and I can remember watching the highlights of the game on HTV. I've got that game on video complete with people like Bob Iles in goal, and I think they had Parker who used to be at Manchester United in their goal.
MB: It must have been a bit of an experience to eventually play against QPR all those years later.
CW: Yes, definitely, although they are not the side they were then. They're still a big club though.
MB: I think that the name of QPR means a lot to Yeovil fans because we'd played them in the FA Cup as a top division side. It was around that sort of time when they'd beaten Manchester United 4-0 and Paul Parker scored a hat-trick. The name still sticks in peoples heads, even though they are now a Second Division side. People still see them as a big club that they used to be.
CW: Yes, that's the way I see them. Last year before the Blackpool game, we went to see QPR play Blackburn Rovers. Colin took us to that game because we were playing on Sunday, live on Sky. So we went to see them play before our game. Now this season we're playing them and beating them! We watched them at Ewood Park in a massive stadium and a massive attendance. It just seems really funny because they've still got some of those same players that we saw that day.
MB: How do you see the season so far - has it been above or below your expectations?
CW: I didn't really know what to expect with us having a new manager and almost a new team. I think we're doing well - we just have to keep on going. Obviously, we're not going to be in the same position as we were last year because we were flying right from the start. But things can change, and you never know how they might change.
MB: There is a need for a bit of rebuilding and to settle into a regular line-up which we haven't had the ability to do yet. Part of it is down to getting a new set of players together, but I think part of it is down to not being able to select the same eleven every week - even if we wanted to.
CW: We've had a lot of injuries and a lot of suspensions. Last year, I remember Pipes saying to me that we'd stuck with the same eleven at one point for something like eight games and of course you are going to do better if you are able to select the same eleven players because you get to know each other. But we've had Roy breaking his leg, Skivo being injured along with lots of others. That has given others a chance, which has been good.
MB: And we've still got Bristol Rovers on Wednesday and we've got the FA Trophy to come. And whilst I hate to say it, we all know that big leads at the top of the Conference can be broken.
CW: Yes definitely. For me, it feels like the season has just begun because I'm just starting to play in it. It's a long season and you don't know what's going to happen. I think things are picking up - we're playing some good football and we are creating a lot of chances and I think our luck will change soon and we'll go on a good run.
MB: That was the one aspect that made me not get too disappointed about Saturday's defeat at Hayes. It wasn't as if we went out with a dull thud. We went out creating a lot of chances and you just felt that if we could tighten up what we're doing at the back that we wouldn't be doing too badly. Every now and again, we've just had the odd occasional lapse and then Bang! - the opposition have got a goal in.
CW: Yes, I don't think we've been beaten for play at all this season really. We've always been the team that has gone out there, played football and created chances. The problem is that we've been beaten on the break a lot. But that's our style of football, and I hope the fans appreciate that style of football and the way that we want to play and attack teams and hopefully we'll come good.
Back to Top of Page