Yeovil Town goalkeeper Chris Weale spoke to BBC Somerset reporter Tim Shires on May 1st 2015, as part of the build-up to the away match against Milton Keynes Dons.
TS: Chris the final game of the season on Sunday and the chance to draw a line under what's been a miserable season really.
CW: Yes, it has been miserable, but we've got to move forward and look forward and to not dwell on the past. The past has gone and we're relegated, and we're looking forward to next season. It will be good to get this game played and to enjoy the game.
TS: It's against MK Dons who are pushing for promotion with one game to go. So they're going to be fighting for everything and it's not going to be an easy game at all.
CW: Well you would rather have that than a no-contest of a game, where nothing is riding on the game. You'd rather have that as a player going into the last game, because you need to be on your mettle and it's a good attractive fixture to play in.
TS: They've played some good football and scored some good goals as well so it's going to be a tough task to defend that goal.
CW: Yes it will be good because I have played a few times at MK Dons and they do play good football and attacking football and create a lot of chances. It's always a good place to play because it's a good atmosphere and a good pitch. They have a largeish crowd and there should be a large crowd there on Sunday. So I think it's a great game to be playing in.
TS: Yeovil players - certain ones may be out of contract or potentially leave at the end of the season. So a lot of the team are going to be fighting for contracts next season.
CW: Yes, but I think that in professional football every game is important to play for, irrespective of whether you're in contract or out of contract, or whether it's the first game or the 46th game. It shouldn't really matter. Every game, you're competing against your fellow professionals, and you want to do as well as you can do, irrespective of whether you're in contract or out of contract and whether it's the last or the first game of the season.
TS: Since Paul Sturrock has come in, we've seen some improvement in performances against Sheffield United and Swindon. How have you found working under Sturrock since he's been here?
CW: Good - he's changed a few things around and I've really enjoyed it. He's a very experienced manager, and very astute and very aware of the game and his knowledge is very very good. So I've been very impressed by him.
TS: Just from our side of things, he's quite quietly spoken - he doesn't really give a lot away, does he?
CW: No, I think some of the best managers do that. Nigel Pearson at Leicester City - when I worked under him - was very similar. He never gave away much, especially to the press. I think that it's a good trait to have.
TS: Looking ahead to next season, do you expect Yeovil to be pushing ahead and competing near the top of the table?
CW: Yes definitely. In terms of the manager's CV, it's great. He's gone promotion chasing and he's got a lot of teams promoted, and obviously that is what we will be looking to do. I think that he is a great acquisition for the club because of his CV and his knowledge of the game.
TS: What about yourself? You've got another year on your contract. Are you happy to stay here and fight in League Two?
CW: I'm contracted to Yeovil Town, so I'm really really looking forward to it. I haven't played that many games this year, due to injury or whatever. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm excited about playing because I'm a Yeovil Town player for another year. Hopefully I will get as many opportunities as I can do to play. Because the season hasn't been great for me, I'm really looking forward to next season.
TS: You've not played as much as you'd like, and you've had a few injuries as well. But how are you feeling at the moment within yourself?
CW: Yes, great. All I'm concerned about is playing as many minutes as I can do this season. It's been a hard difficult time in terms of being injured. I broke my foot in three different places, and the bone wasn't healing. I was coming back and I wasn't ready, and then I was coming back and it wasn't ready again. It was a very frustrating time. Just to be out there on the pitch is brilliant for me. It's a privilege to be out there at the moment, so all I want to do is to rack up the minutes as much as I can do, to then move forward into next season.
TS: Finally let's talk about the fans here at Huish Park. Even though you finished bottom of the table, and dropped down into League Two, they've stuck behind you all the way through the season.
CW: Yes, without a doubt. They've been fantastic. The fans are the most important people at a football club. People come and go, managers come and go, players come and go, but it's always the fans that stay, so they are the most important people at the football club and people sometimes don't appreciate that or realise that. I was thinking that twelve years ago we were in the Conference, and I was in the Youth Team, and I was part-player, part-fan whilst being in the Youth Team. If you could say that twelve or thirteen years later that we'd have gone three promotions into the Championship and then gone back into League Two, I think the majority of people would have taken that. It's obviously been a rollercoaster for that, both mentally as well as being exciting and sometimes disheartening. But I think the majority of fans would have bitten your hand off for those twelve years of highs and lows.
TS: You mention about coming down, sometimes - like just up the road at Bristol City - teams like them had to drop down to League One to rebuild themselves to be in a better position to go back up into the Championship. Maybe Yeovil are in that position now, in that they can rebuild and then hopefully push back up into League One again.
CW: Yes, with the majority of football clubs this happens. With the Manchester Uniteds, Chelseas and Liverpools it doesn't happen because they'e obviously got the financial backing and they very rarely get relegated. But the majority of football clubs and the majority of football fans will have experienced relegation and will have experienced promotion. With Yeovil being a relatively new Football League side, many probably haven't really experienced that during their following of Yeovil Town, and in terms of their longevity. But the majority of football fans will have experienced highs and will have experienced lows. I can't imagine that many teams won't have experienced relegation, or never been promoted. It's just part of the Football League, where you're going to experience these things.
Qu: The new manager has obviously made a few changes to look at everyone. He's looked at you and Artur. Does it feel like you're playing to impress him at the moment?
CW: Yes and no. Because of my injury, I'm just trying to play as many minutes as I can. It's up to him as to whether he's impressed or not. But I'm more concerned with playing as many minutes as I can do, and proving to myself that I'm fully fit and that my foot is okay, and enjoying playing my football. If he likes what he sees, then he like what he sees, but I'm not overly concerned about trying to impress other people because then problems happen and you start over-thinking things, and then you don't play as well as you would like to. Obviously whenever you play, you do need to impress whoever is manager, and whoever is watching. But first of all you want to try to impress yourself and make sure you're alright yourself.
Qu: Are you likely to be in that competition next season - I know that's putting you on the spot, but what effect does that have upon you as a player?
CW: It's good. At times you do want to know whether you are a number one or a number two, because then you can get your head around it and you can help each other, and work out who is starting and who is not. It's also great to have the competition. At every club that I've been at in my career, I've always had competition. That's been great to get the best out of you. You need to have that, otherwise you probably become complacent, and you don't perform as well as you could do. Artur is brilliant - on the pitch I've been very impressed with him, and his attributes are very good. He's got every chance of playing a lot higher. Also his attitude in terms of his training and his professionalism is outstanding. It's really great to have someone that's similar to yourself, in terms of attitude, to work with on a daily basis.
Qu: Gareth Stewart has left the club, so how has that affected you and the other goalkeepers?
CW: Great - you've just got to get on with it. Gareth was a great asset to have and I thank him for what he's done. He was very good to me, and very good to Artur, but in difficult circumstances because under the previous manager various loan goalkeepers came in and it was difficult for him. But he was great. Moving forward he's now gone, and us two at the moment just have to do it ourselves and we're working really well together and it's been great. It's gone really well because we're obviously pushing each other and coming up with ideas, and working out what he likes and what I like. Sometimes when you've got a coach, they do what they want to do, rather than what suits that goalkeeper, so it's been great at the moment.
Qu: Is that something you'd think about in the future - as a goalkeeping coach?
CW: Obviously I'm 33 and I've hopefully still got a lot more years to play. But obviously when you get past 30 then you start thinking about what you're going to do after your football is finished. So that is something I've been looking at, and I think I would be very good at, but it's just about the right time, and when is the right time to do it.
Back to Top of Page