Steel City Islander: Lewis Buxton

In a rare break from the Saints related subject matter, I was delighted to catch up with newly promoted Sheffield Wednesday star Lewis Buxton. I am lucky enough to have known Lewis and his family for many years and have watched his career with interest.

Having learnt his trade on the Isle of Wight, a place where not many young kids make the grade Lewis is now enjoying a fruitful career with one of the countries biggest clubs in Sheffield Wednesday. Sealing promotion to the Championship under new boss Dave Jones, Lewis is looking forward to another spell at the higher level, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for the Islander….

As one of the few pros to come out of the game on the Island, do you feel that it is a disadvantage for kids here?

LB  “It’s a disadvantage, everyones knows that the Island has a low population so competition isn’t as intense as the big cities. To get the best out of anyone in sport you need to be competing against the best opposition, every week from an early age, the last thing you want is a team winning 14-0 for most of the season. I don’t know what the kids leagues are like now but if they don’t already then it would give the kids a better chance with a structure that has all the current sides feeding one team playing in the Southampton league and one in the Portsmouth league which take all the best players from the existing teams. Kids develop at different rates so some would be dropped out of the teams playing in the mainland leagues and others promoted to them. This would progress the talented kids quicker and give them the best chance to get scouted for professional clubs at a young age. They would then receive the top quality coaching which they need to move onto the next level .

There was however a very good bunch of players in my age group in the Island league at the top 3 or 4 teams. We also played regularly in tournaments against mainland sides at school level, and for East Cowes from an early age we played in the national indoor final at Aston Villa. We won a Hampshire tournament at the Dell, and played at Fratton Park in a similar tournament. We were one game away from Wembley in another. We were entered into these school tournament’s by a very good P.E teacher Mr. McArther so he gave us the opportunity to progress against top opposition as young players.

The stretch of water does make even the the most dedicated kids doubt if it’s all worth it. Travelling over the water from the age of 14 three times a week leaving home at half 4 and getting in 6 hours later for an hour/hour and a half of training straight after school is not much fun. I personally did not enjoy the travelling and the waiting around for hours and contemplated giving up on numerous occasions. You go from playing in your local team with all your best mates and really enjoying it, to joining a new team that all know each other because they play in the top 2 or 3 local sides in Pompey. That is difficult as a young kid and my football struggled at this stage but again I was lucky we had a strong group from the Island that would go over to play for Portsmouth schoolboys together. On top of that, Portsmouth didn’t pay for your travel and the majority of the time you were not getting picked up as the coaches had to train the younger age groups before our age group. It was a joint taxi or the bus, and If the lads you travelled with were ill it would mean getting the bus on your own.”

How did you get involved with Pompey?

LB “I got scouted by Roger North playing for the school. He invited me and my best mate Adam Howarth to train at his soccer school in Sandown where we progressed to his side at Portsmouth’s centre of Excellence. Without the work of Roger, Andrew and Shaun North I wouldn’t have become a professional footballer.”

Lewis at Pompey.

How big was the skill gap between playing in the Island youth teams and then being amongst the young lads at a pro club?

LB “There was a slight gap but we had a good bunch of players on the Island at that age. The best players on the Island at that time competed with Portsmouth’s best but there were just a lot of good players at Pompey.”

Having been a regular at Fratton Park, you found yourself loaned out to Exeter and Bournemouth once Harry Redknapp came in? Do you think this enhanced your career or held you back?

LB “It held me back, I had played 30 games for Pompey in the Championship, and before one game Ted Buxton (not my uncle, as I’ve been told he must have been when telling this story) told me he was trying to get me into the England youth set up and was feeling I could do anything, then I was being farmed out to Exeter a team near the bottom of the football league and low on confidence.

Bournemouth was a good grounding for me though and I had a lot to thank then manager Sean O’Driscoll for. It gave me a good platform for my career in a strong passing side. It was a great club with great staff. Portsmouth had moved on too quickly for me and Harry had turned a struggling Championship side into a Premiership side in no time. Playing in a reserve team and not training with the first team for long periods I lost my way and my focus, I lacked guidance and developed a bad attitude because I felt hard done by.”

After a decent spell with Stoke City, you now find yourself settled with Sheffield Wednesday. It must be brilliant to play for such a big club?

LB “Sheffield Wednesday is a massive club and after a bit of a struggle initially, I worked extremely hard and I’ve played well this season. We came with a strong late run to beat our local rivals to the 2nd spot. We beat them in the derby at Hillsborough in front of around 35,000, the atmosphere was electric, for players playing in the third tier of English football it’s unbelievable and all the players should be proud to play in such a game that means the world to both sets of supporters. In the last game of this season we beat Wycombe in front of nearly 40,000 fans, it was a great feeling but the club belongs in the next league up and in the next few years I hope we’ll get there.”

Buxton & Wednesday. Championship Bound.

Who influenced your career in Island Football?

LB “I would say initially my mum and dad and the friends in East Cowes who I hung around with. Mike Parkman who gave up a lot of his time to manage our East Cowes side which was no easy task. Then obviously Roger, Sean and Andrew North for bringing me through at Portsmouth. As a kid I knew Lee Bradbury had become a pro footballer and so had Gary Rowett. Our PE teacher Mr. Reynolds would always go on about them and how Gary had won the Hampshire Cup (we made it to the final and lostl). They both went to my school so although I didn’t know them I knew it was possible to make it.”

You played for a successful East Cowes youth side. Did you expect others from that team to make it?

LB “We had a very talented group of players who were all good friends at East Cowes, we then brought in better players from Sandown such as Sam Dye and Micky Sherry who had the talent, but again were at a disadvantage being from the Island. The main one though would be one of my best mates, Adam Howarth, we were both from East Cowes and in the Isle of Wight schools sides, Hampshire and Portsmouth kids sides together, always battling to be better than each other so he could have made it given a chance at YTS level. Shaun Cooper another of my best mates who plays for Bournemouth was in the same Pompey kids team as us and was another we played against at school.”

You’ve played under a few different managers, who have you enjoyed playing for the most?

LB “I enjoyed playing for Graham Rix, as a 17 year old, he and my youth team coach Mark O’Connor gave me great confidence, I was gutted when he got sacked.

What advice would you give a young Island footballer with hopes of going pro?

LB “I would say:-

1. Move to Southampton or Portsmouth, the Island is a nice and safe place to live but if you want to be a professional footballer you are up against it. If you can’t move I would say the kids that are the best at a young age need to play for the year above to begin with. This is something Shaun Cooper and I did.

2. Work as hard as possible, if someone says your not good enough then work harder. One of the lads at Wednesday (Jose Semedo) was in the same year of the Sporting Lisbon Academy as Ronaldo and is good friends with him still. He said that the hardest working player he ever played with was Ronaldo, it is no coincidence he is the best. Well second best behind the greatest of all time (Messi). I was told the same thing about Ronaldo by the former fitness coach of Manchester United too.

3. Start sprint training early you can make it with less quality if your faster than everyone else.

4. Watch the best players in the world as much as possible.

5. Learn to be comfortable using every part of your body to control and manipulate the ball.”

Thanks to Lewis for his time.

Chris

p.s. If you have enjoyed reading the blog over the past year, why not vote for us in the “Club Specific” category at the Football Blogging Awards? Either via Facebook here. Or, tweet the following:- @TheFBAs @crstig #Club

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Silly season, only likely to get sillier…

The close season is boring. If there is no tournament that we can watch England showcase their spectacular level of mediocrity in, we have to rely on the snippets of transfer rumour for our summer injection of this football drug

Often referred to as silly season, mainly because the papers try and fill their sports pages with outrageous “done deals” and “likely to be finalised this week” stories, Manchester City having replaced Chelsea as the team that will be linked with every footballer that has kicked a ball with any degree of success last season.

High profile players will be linked with other clubs, they have no intention of moving too, engineered by their representative to get them a better deal at their current club(the Gerrard/Terry/Rooney model.)

It has always been like this. But it is getting worse.

Not just because of the stupid levels of money being spent on transfer fees and wages, but now because of technology too. Now we have Twitter. The rise in the usage of Twitter by professional footballers has seen the summer transfer rumour mill take a whole new direction. Gone are the days where I had to rely on Ceefax page 312 for a roundup of the days transfer stories(and I did check this every day, every summer), the frustrating wait as the pages changed, hoping that something was happening at Saints.

Contrary to Newsbiscuit's report the Isle of Wight did have Ceefax prior to 2009...

Now the fans can directly interact with the players on Twitter, and this should be openly encouraged in my opinion. You often hear people moan about the young millionaires who have lost touch with the fans, and Twitter is a brilliant way of them getting it back. The power of this interaction though increases the level of speculation, every club has fans who are “in the know” usually to be found on forums fuelling everybody’s desperate need for news, but now they are on Twitter too. An “in the know” fan of my club suggested earlier this week that we were in talks with Rohan Ricketts, a high twitter user. Rickett’s is clearly a clever cookie and  very good at interacting with people, so when on receipt of this rumour he had Saints fans asking him if it were true, he, rather obtusely replied with “I can’t say at the moment”.

We have also been linked by several papers with Jack Cork(as are several others). A player who had a successful loan spell with us last time we were in the Championship, Cork is also a “tweeter”. Cork has taken a differing approach to the questions now coming at him thick and fast, opting for a dignified silence. In my cynical opinion, this is probably because Cork does have offers on the table, whereas Ricketts is actively looking.

We can also look forward to the “such and such spotted in wherever” rumours, my personal favourites. The amount of managers and players that have been spotted at the De Vere hotel in Southampton would be enough to form a breakaway league.

The problem with transfer rumours is, that no matter how ridiculous, and no matter how sure you are that they aren’t true, you can’t help letting yourselves be taken in by them.

I don’t mind admitting that I have been taken in a couple of times. I knew how unlikely they were, but the majesty of them just made me hope. Firstly circa 1994, and the rumour was rife that Gary Lineker was to make a triumphant return to English football from Grampus Eight and lead Saints forward line. The “hope” involved in believing this one was fuelled by the previous season, having had to put up with the ridiculously bad Kerry Dixon and David Speedie, the thought of an English goalscoring legend coming to rescue us from our crap striker abyss was too much to ignore. Lineker was spotted in Ted’s fish and chip shop by the Dell and everything…..

Secondly, summer of 2001. Saints in their new stadium, and seemingly on the up, what better than a flagship signing? But German international superstar Oliver Bierhoff? Surely not. Correct. Not. We did sign an international goalscorer though. Agustin Delgado, so all’s well that ends well. Oh wait….

Bierhoff reacts badly to the news his move to Southampton has broken down...

So we can all look forward to another summer of speculation and hearsay. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you are taken it by any involving your club. Football is all about hopes and dreams. And sometimes nightmares.

Chris

p.s. I have it on very good authority that Michael Owen will definitely not be signing for Southampton.

Isle of Wight Squad Named….

Manager Andy Sampson has named his squad for the 2011 Natwest Island Games Football Tournament.

A useful mix of youth and experience covering every position should provide a decent platform for the team to use home advantage as an assault on the medal positions.

While the majority of the squad is Island based, with several players coming from the successful Wessex League Premier campaigns of Brading Town and Newport, it is also bolstered with Islanders plying their trade with mainland teams.

Sampson will be looking to the experience of former pro Aaron Cook, now playing for Southern League Gosport Borough to lead the side. Former Portsmouth and Southampton Academy members Ryan Woodford and Tom Dunford respectively are also named, as is Thatcham Town’s Matt Bowler.

Aaron Cook

The potent Brading forward line of Giancovich, Levrier and Jones will renew acquaintances for the representative side as will the impressive Newport midfield duo of Seabrook and Smeeton.

Squad in Full:-

Goalkeepers:- Gary Streeter (Newport IW), Jamie Bray (Blackfield & Langley)

Defenders:- Matt  Bowler (Thatcham Town), Aiden Bryan (Cowes Sports), Aaron Cook (Gosport Borough), Ollie Fleming (Brading Town), Alex Przespolewski (Brading Town), Scott Sampson (Newport IW/Royal Navy), Ryan Woodford (Havant & Waterlooville).  

Midfielders:- Tom Dunford (Winchester City), John McKie (Newport IW), Iain Seabrook (Newport IW), Tom Scovell (Newport IW), Charlie Smeeton (Newport IW), Myles Taylor (Cowes Sports), Jamie White (Brockenhurst).

Forwards:- Giancarlo Giancovich (Brading Town),  Danny Hatcher (Shanklin), Scott Jones (Brading Town), Kyle Levrier (Brading Town), Tom McInnes (Newport IW).

Tom Dunford in his Southampton days.

The Island side kick off their Island Games campaign against Ynys Mon on Sunday 26th June at St. Georges Park, Seven thirty kick off. For a full list of fixtures click here.

For full squad list and pen pics, see the IOWFA page:- IOW Squad

Chris

Natwest Island Games 2011 Football Fixtures…

Now that the draw has been validated the football fixtures for the Natwest Island Games 2011 have been announced as below:-

Mens:-

Sunday, 26th June 2011

Group A:-

1.

Jersey

v

Menorca

Westwood Park, Cowes

19:00

2.

Rhodes

v

Greenland

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

15:00

Group B:-

3.

Alderney

v

Gibraltar

St. George’s Park, Newport

14:00

4.

Isle of Wight

v

Ynys Mon

St. George’s Park, Newport

19:30

 Group C:-

5.

Gotland

v

Isle of Man

Westwood Park, Cowes

14:00

6.

Guernsey

v

The Falklands

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

19:00

 Group D:-

7.

Aland

v

Saaremaa

Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes

19:00

Monday, 27th June 2011

Group A:-

8.

Jersey

v

Rhodes

St. George’s Park, Newport

19:30

9.

Greenland

v

Menorca

Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes

19:00

Group B:-

10.

Alderney

v

Isle of Wight

Westwood Park, Cowes

19:00

11.

Gibraltar

v

Ynys Mon

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

19:00

 Group C:-

12.

Gotland

v

Guernsey

Camp Road, Freshwater

19:00

13.

Isle of Man

v

The Falklands

Highwood Lane, Rookley

18:30

Group D:-

14.

Western Isles

v

Aland

St. George’s Park, Newport

14:00

Tuesday, 28th June 2011

Group A:-

15.

Greenland

v

Jersey

Camp Road, Freshwater

19:00

16.

Menorca

v

Rhodes

St. George’s Park, Newport

19:00

 Group B:-

17.

Alderney

v

Ynys Mon

The County Ground, Shanklin

18:30

18.

Gibraltar

v

Isle of Wight

Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes

19:00

 Group C:-

19.

Guernsey

v

Isle of Man

Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes

14:00

20.

The Falklands

v

Gotland

Slade Road, Ryde

14:30

 Group D:- 

21.

Saaremaa

v

Western Isles

Milne Memorial Ground, Cowes

11:30

Thursday, 30th June 2011

Semi Finals:-

22.

Winners A

v

Winners B

Westwood Park, Cowes

14:30

23.

Winners C

v

Winners D

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

15:00

Positional Playoff Matches:-

24.

13th/14th Playoff

The County Ground, Shanklin

18:30

25.

11th/12th Playoff

The County Ground, Shanklin

14:00

26.

9th/10th Playoff

Camp Road, Freshwater

19:00

27.

7th/8th Playoff

Milne Memorial Ground, Cowes

11:30

28.

5th/6th Playoff

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

19:00

Friday, 1st July

3rd/4th Place Playoff:- 

29.

Losers 22

v

Losers 23

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

10:30

Final:-

30.

Winners 22

v

Winners 23

St. George’s Park, Newport

15:00

Womens:-

Sunday, 26th June 2011

Group A:-

1.

Aland

v

Jersey

The County Ground, Shanklin

14:00

2.

Hitra

v

Isle of Wight

Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes

14:00

Group B:-

3.

Isle of Man

v

Gibraltar

The County Ground, Shanklin

18:30

Group C:-

4.

Gotland

v

Saaremaa

Slade Road, Ryde

14:00

Monday, 27th June 2011

Group A:-

5.

Isle of Wight

v

Aland

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

15:00

6.

Jersey

v

Hitra

Slade Road, Ryde

11:30

Group B:-

7.

Isle of Man

v

Greenland

Slade Road, Ryde

16:00

Group C:-

8.

Saaremaa

v

Western Isles

The County Ground, Shanklin

14:00

Tuesday, 28th June 2011

Group A:-

9.

Aland

v

Hitra

Milne Memorial Ground, Cowes

18:00

10.

Isle of Wight

v

Jersey

Westwood Park, Cowes

14:00

Group B:-

11.

Greenland

v

Gibraltar

Westwood Park, Cowes

19:00

Group C:-

12.

Gotland

v

Western Isles

The Peter Henry Ground, Brading

19:00

Thursday, 30th June 2011

Semi Finals:-

13.

Winner A

v

Best Runner Up

Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes

12:00

14.

Winner B

v

Winner C

St. George’s Park, Newport

12:00

Positional Playoff Matches:-

15.

                  9th/10th Playoff

Milne Memorial Ground, Cowes

18:00

16.

 7th/8th Playoff

Slade Road, Ryde

 14:30

17.

                  5th/6th Playoff

Westwood Park, Cowes

19:00

 Friday, 1st July 2011

3rd/4th Place Playoff:- 

18.

Losers 13

v

Losers 14

Beatrice Avenue, East Cowes

10:00

Final:-

19.

Winners 13

v

Winners 14

Westwood Park, Cowes

12:00

Chris



Newport Strike Gold at Westwood Park….

After strong ends to their Wessex League campaigns, Brading finishing an impressive 4th and Newport 10th in the Wessex Premier Division, both sides arrived at Westwood Park in Cowes looking to end their season on a high.

Having only recently played out an entertaining draw in a league match, there were high hopes for a free flowing and entertaining final for the Island’s showpiece competition.

The opening exchanges looked like the watching crowd weren’t to be disappointed. Newport were the first to set their intentions, Iain Seabrook shooting over early on. Not to be outdone Brading went straight on the attack themselves, Scott Jones shooting low and forcing a corner.

The Romans started to take control of the game, pressing the Newport 18 yard box, but failing to make any clear cut chances. It was Jones again who looked the dangerman, weaving through the middle, only to be denied by a brave save at his feet from Cameron Farley, that left the Port keeper needing treatment.

Newport nearly broke the deadlock with a hopeful long ball from Graham Stay on the left flank, Darren Powell with a deft touch that evaded the Brading keeper but floated just over the bar.

Brading then created a couple of good chances, firstly Jones winning a header from the ball pumped forward, which found his strike partner Kyle Levrier whose shot went narrowly over. Then some great link up play down the left wing between Giancovich, Levrier and Jack Morris forced a corner, James Butt delivered a testing cross which was spilled by Farley in the Newport goal, but he was able to gather it on the ground before a Brading player could pounce.

It was Newport though that started to look more of a threat as the first half drew to a close, a free kick by Scott Sampson led to a goal mouth scramble in the Brading box, which was eventually cleared before a yellow shirt could apply a finish. Then it was great work through the middle from Charlie Smeeton who battled past two players before finding Tom McInnes who looked likely to open the scoring, but the linesman’s flag was up.

Newport did take the lead soon after, Iain Seebrook’s perfectly weighted through ball, latched on to by Mark Augustus who smashed the ball into Brading net in the 40th minute.

It was almost 2-0 to the Port just a couple of minutes later, a mix up at the back for Brading led to a good exchange between McInnes and Smeeton, the latter forcing a great save from the Romans keeper True.

The referee called an end to a fairly quiet but even first half with all to play for in the second.

HT:- Newport (IOW) 1 Brading Town 0

A foul on Charlie Smeeton early in the second half nearly saw Newport double their advantage. Iain Seabrook’s thunderous freekick from 25 yards was turned round the post by Gareth True at full stretch.

James Butt continued to be a dangerous outlet for Brading on the right flank, sending in several floated crosses crying out for somebody to attack, Scott Jones getting on the end of one, only to be penalised for handball.

It was a hammer blow for the Romans though on 51, when a loose ball out of the defence was picked up by Seabrook who found McInnes, the Port number 9  sent in a cross, which was deflected towards goal by a white shirt, Gareth True did well to dive to his left and palm the ball away, only for it to fall to Charlie Smeeton to tap it into the empty net and give Newport a two goal cushion.

Brading immediately forced a corner, but Newport cleared their lines before there was a triple substitution in the 55th minute. Newport replaced Gregorys Ryan coming on for older brother Ross, while Brading made two changes as they looked to chase the game. Keiron Ford and Jamie O’Rourke replacing Will Quigley and Jack Morris respectively.

Not looking to let up, a now confident Newport looked to impose themselves and kill the game, Charlie Smeeton turning provider, but Iain Seabrook’s shot went wide.

Brading hadn’t thrown in the towel though and perhaps should have been right back in it, Giancarlo Giancovich persevering down the middle of the park before sending a teasing ball across the face of the Newport goal, Jamie O’Rourke just out of reach from tapping it home.

Charlie Smeeton, a constant threat when Newport attacked, had another goalbound effort, well headed behind by Brading defender Ollie Fleming, but Newport effectively ended the tie just minutes later in the 67th. Mark Augustus floating in a cross which was met by 16 year old Ryan Gregory who calmly headed home.

Brading made their final substitution of the evening in the 68th, Jason Ince coming on for James Butt and should have scored a minute later. Levrier lining up what seemed to be a certain goal, but for a perfectly timed sliding tackle from Steve Russell.

Newport now in control, looked to take advantage of Brading having to commit men forward, Seabrook and Smeeton both testing Gareth True. The Romans thought they were back in it though after great hassling by Levrier to force a corner, Jones had the ball in the back of the net from the resulting set piece, only for the linesman to rule it out, because the ball had already gone out of play.

Levrier was give an talking to by the referee for a late challenge on Seabrook in what had been a consistently disciplined affair, the official choosing not to reach for his pocket for the first time in the match.

Brading finally got on the scoresheet in the 82nd, a long range finish that may have taken a deflection from Giancarlo Giancovich stung the gloves of Cameron Farley, but he couldn’t keep it out. In what looked like being a frantic finish by the team in read and white, they carved out another chance straight from the kick off getting in a cross that was well plucked out of the air by Farley to safeguard the Port’s two goal lead.

Newport replaced Iain Seabrook with Tom Scovell before a Jason Ince cross was met by O’Rourke who couldn’t apply a finish for Brading. As the clock wound down and we headed in to stoppage time, Paul Sleep made his final substitution John Chambers coming on for the opening goalscorer Augustus. It was deep into stoppage time when the referee had to take his first real disciplinary action of the night, Kyle Levrier sent off for a late tackle on Charlie Smeeton, before bringing an end to a good contest. Newport retaining the Gold Cup, taking the precious trophy back to St. Georges Park for the 39th time.

Charlie Smeeton was deservedly named the “Alan Reed” Man of the Match.

FT:- Newport (IOW) 3 Brading Town 1

Newport (IOW):- Farley, Sampson, Stay, Augustus(Chambers), Russell, Ovnik, Powell, Seabrook(Scovell), McInnes, Smeeton, Ro Gregory(Ry Gregory) Subs not used – McDonough, Simpkins

Brading Town:- True, Butt(Ince), Quigley(Ford), Appell, Fleming, Stuber, Morris(O’Rourke), Rayner, Giancovich, Levrier, Jones. Subs not used – Lewis

Newport lift the Gold Cup at Westwood Park


Natwest Island Games 2011 Football Draw….

UPDATE:- This draw has now been accepted and validated.

The draw for the 2011 Island Games football draw was made this morning at 0830.

The Isle of Wight mens team were the first out of the hat in Group B and will take on Alderney, Gibralter and Ynys Mon. The Ladies team were drawn last in Group A and will face Aland, Jersey and Hitra.

Draw in full:-

Mens:-

Group A:-

Jersey, Menorca, Rhodes and Greenland.

Group B:-

Isle of Wight, Alderney, Gibralter and Ynys Mon.

Group C:-

Guernsey, Gotland, Isle of Man and Falklands.

Group D:-

Aland, Saaremaa and Western Isles.

Ladies:-

Group A:-

Aland, Jersey, Hitra and Isle of Wight.

Group B:-

Isle of Man, Gibralter and Greenland.

Group C:-

Gotland, Saaremaa and Western Isles.

The group matches will be played between the 26th and the 29th June 2011.

Chris

IW Senior (Gold) Cup Final Preview….

The Island’s top two sides faced off at St. George’s Park on Bank Holiday Monday in a dress rehearsal of this year’s Gold Cup Final. Charlie Smeeton gave the home side the lead early on, before Josh Appell equalised for the Romans on the half hour as the sides battled to a hard fought local derby stalemate.

All eyes will now be on Westwood Park for the 5th May and the final.

In an exact re-run of last years final, the Port will be looking for revenge on Brading who took the trophy last time out with a 2-1 victory.

Both teams will enter the match in good form, without a defeat between them in the last nine games. Newport on a resurgence under new manager Paul Sleep will be full of confidence having only recently won the Russel Cotes Cup in dramatic fashion over fellow Wessex League Premier Divison outfit Bermerton Heath Harlequins. While Brading’s impressive league results see them going into their last match against Champions Poole Town on Thursday knowing a win and results going their way elsewhere could see them runners up.

V

Brading Town from:-  True, Plumbley, Tigwell, Ince, Younie, Prezpolewzki, Quigley, Fleming, Stuber, Lewis, Ford, Sturgess, Butt, Lawson, Leigh, Rayner, Morris, Appell, Henderson, Buckett, Jones, Armstrong, Vale, Levrier, Giancovich, Wright, O’Rourke.

Last time out:- True, Butt(Quigley), Prezpolewzki, Appell(Giancovich), Fleming, Stuber, Ford(O’Rourke), Rayner, Morris, Levrier, Jones.

Top Scorers:- Levrier 27, Prezpolewzki 15, Giancovich 11.

Form(Last 6):- LWWWWD

Route to Final:- GKN, West Wight. 

Gold Cup wins:- 2 (1976/77, 2009/10)

Newport(IW) from:- Streeter, Farley, Sampson, Stay, McDonough, L. Powell, Wetherick, Augustus, Russell, Ovnik, D. Powell, Gregory, Evans, Hart, Seabrook, McInnes, McKie, Smeeton, Scovell.

Last time out:- Farley, Sampson, Stay, Augustus(Gregory), Russell, Ovnik, D. Powell, Seabrook, McInnes, McKie, Smeeton.

Top Scorers:- Seabrook 19, Smeeton 11, McInnes 10.

Form(Last 6):- WLWDWD

Route to Final:-  St. HelensNorthwood St. Johns

Gold Cup Wins:- 38 (1929/30, 1935/36, 1937/38, 1939/40, 1944/45, 1945/46, 1946/47, 1948/49, 1952/53 (shared with cowes) 1953/44, 1955/56 (this final won with reserves) 1957/58, 1965/66, 1967/68, 1970/71, 1971/72, 1972/73, 1973/74, 1974/75, 1975/76, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1980/81, 1986/87, 1987/88, 1989/90, 1991/92, 1992/93,1993/94, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1997/98, 1998/99, 1999/2000,  2002/2003,  2003/2004, 2004/2005, 2008/2009)

The Isle of Wight Gold Cup

Chris

The kids are all Wight Part 2……..

Sometimes, you start something and you know it isn’t quite finished! That is how I felt after the first “Kids are all Wight” article.

The feedback I had to it was astonishing, and now I have a much broader appreciation of Island pros, pre my generation. To that end, I thought it only fitting and fair that I write a follow up, celebrating the talents of those Islanders that made the grade long before my time, and in an era that would have made it even harder for a young man from the Isle of Wight to be snapped up by the professional clubs.

Ferry travel, was not as regular as it is now for the youngsters of the Island, making it tough for them to attend trials, the last ferries home often way too early,  not to mention the expense, this coupled with a non-existent scouting setup meant talented lads had to shine for the bigger Island clubs and hope for the best.

The first to defy this and  “make the grade” and perhaps the most well known of Island footballers was Roy Shiner.

Shiner, a carpentry apprentice from Seaview first caught the eye of Birmingham City while playing for East Cowes Vics during the Second World War, but was persuaded from attending a trial by his father(a brief top level player himself, so perhaps aware of the pitfalls) who urged him to continue with his trade. Shiner did however attend trials with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portsmouth, neither of which were successful, before signing for Ryde Sports.

Shiner was prolific up front for Ryde, notably smashing 50 goals in the 1947/48 Hampshire League Season, big things were not far away for Roy. In fact just two seasons later, after starring in a match for the Isle of Wight representative team against Gloucestershire, Shiner was signed part time by Southern League side Cheltenham Town. Roy couldn’t have had a better start, scoring the only goal in his Southern League debut in October 1949.

Roy Shiner - Sheffield Wednesday FC. Picture courtesy of Mike Payne.

Roy spent just two seasons at Whaddon Road, before a pre-season friendly against Wolves in 1951 made his dream a reality. Huddersfield Town had a representative in the crowd and Roy was on his way to Division One!

Shiner didn’t made his top flight debut until Christmas Day of that year, and first team appearances were few and far between as he struggled to adapt at this new level. After just twenty one games and six goals in three years at Leeds Road he moved on, signing for Division two club Sheffield Wednesday.

This turned out to be the best decision of Roy’s career. Roy scored goals for fun in the blue and white stripes of Hillsbrough. In a four year spell from 1955 to 1959, he found the net 93 times in 153 league appearances, and established himself as a top level goalscorer. He was part of the Wednesday side that twice won the Division Two championship, all be it coupled with two relegations, and became a terrace favourite for the Owls.

A now 34 year old Roy moved on again in 1959, even further North to Hull City, but despite scoring eight goals, he was only to last one season. Injuries began to take their toll and Shiner accepted that his football league career was finished. Roy went back to Cheltenham and had a spell as player/manager, before completing the circle of his career and returning to the Island in 1962, taking the managerial reigns at Seaview and later those of Newport, East Cowes Vics and St Helens Blue Star.

A true shining light in the arena of Island footballers, Roy sadly passed away in 1988, but his legacy and impact on Island football will never be forgotten.

Roy Shiner(left) in his managerial days at Newport. Picture courtesy of Brian Marriott.

Another name that was mentioned to me several times was that of Wes Maughan. From Cowes, 19 year old Maughan signed for Southampton in 1958 and over a four year spell played six times for the Saints first team and scored one goal before moving on to Reading. He had a bigger impact at Elm Park, scoring three times in sixteen games before heading to Chelmsford City in 1963 and eventually returning to the Island.

Jim Watts from Cowes spent a season with Gillingham in 1956/57, playing in twelve games and scoring one goal in Division Three(South), where he went from there, though, I cannot find out.

Wayne Talkes was the next to hit the professional game. From Brading, although originally London, Talkes signed for Southampton in 1969, a long locked midfielder, Talkes stayed at the Dell until 1974 despite only playing nine first team games. He was loaned to Doncaster Rovers before becoming the first in the long line of Islanders to play for Bournemouth.

It was the eighties before another Islander could make the step up. 20 year old Cowes lad Gareth Williams found his way to the heady heights of Villa Park and the first division via East Cowes Vics and Gosport Borough in 1987. Williams racked up an impressive 225 football league appearances over a thirteen year professional career that ended at Hull City in the year 2000. As well as Aston Villa and Hull, he had spells at Barnsley, Bournemouth, Northampton Town and Scarborough before playing for a few Non-League sides, eventually becoming player/manager of Matlock Town.

Gareth Williams - Scarborough FC

So we come back full circle to where I started in the first article, the 90’s to the 00’s. I did do a couple of Island players from that era a disservice, by not mentioning them.

Aaron Cook from Cowes, was signed by Portsmouth in 1998 and had a loan spell at Crystal Palace after impressing Terry Venables, but it didn’t quite work out for him. Since then though, he has forged a distinguished Non-League career, notably with Havant & Waterlooville and Salisbury City.

Danny Hatcher had a spell with Leyton Orient between 2000/03 playing sixteen games for the London club before returning to play for his hometown team Newport.

So there we have it, another instalment, but perhaps not the last? There may be more from the past, that we know little about, and hopefully there will be more in the future, what is clear to me now, is that while we may not be the hotbed of footballing talent that bigger, more dense areas of the country are, for a place of our size and population we are certainly making ourselves heard!

Many thanks go to Brian Greening, Brian Marriott, Nick Reed and Mike Payne for their help and information on this.

Chris

 

Newport Dominate Gold Cup Semi Final….

It was plain sailing for Newport as they cruised to a 5-0 victory over Northwood St. Johns in the Gold Cup Semi Final at Westwood Park last night.

The Wessex league outfit showed their superiority from the off and it didn’t take long for them to break the deadlock, a deep looping cross from left back Graham Stay fooled everyone, including the Northwood keeper and dipped into the top corner.

Things went from bad to worse for the Island League side soon after, Charlie Shaw turning a Newport cross into his own net to give the team in yellow a two goal advantage.

Northwood kept working hard, but Iain Seabrook in seemingly acres of space in the centre of the park was running the show.

Paul Sleep’s men put the tie beyond any doubt soon after the break, Seabrook rewarded for his endeavours in midfield scoring the third goal, slotting a low finish into the bottom corner.

A scramble in the box from another left wing cross led to the fourth, the Northwood defence failing to deal with it, before the ball rebounded off of the post from the eventual clearance and into the back of the net.

The left flank was proving to be a fruitful avenue of attack for the Port as Darren Powell volleyed home the fifth.

Northwood came alive in an attacking sense in the last ten minutes, but couldn’t find a way through and Gary Streeter in the Newport goal never looked troubled.

It was a dominant performance from the Wessex league side, but credit to Northwood who never stopped working or let their heads drop.

Newport will now face fellow Wessex League side Brading Town in the Final.

Newport (IW) 5 Northwood St. Johns 0

Newport:- Streeter, McDonough, Stay, Smeeton, Russell, White(L. Powell), D. Powell, Seabrook, McInnes(Wetherick), Evans(Augustus), Hart.

Northwood SJ:- Hayward, Symonds(J.Silk), Munns(D. Silk), Shaw, Aubrey, Lane, Turner, Kirkpatrick, Malcolmson, McKenzie(Bilton), Cook.

The kids are all Wight……..

It has often been said that being recognised as a talented footballer on the Isle of Wight, is not the easiest job in the world.

Down here off of the South Coast of England, it is hardly a footballing hotbed of talent, not that there isn’t talent, but for obvious reasons the opportunities for young Islanders to shine aren’t as readily available as it is for kids in London or the North West.

Links to the Island have traditionally come from the South Coast Clubs, Saints and Pompey have both run initiatives and scouting programs over the water and Bournemouth have also given many youngsters the chance to make a name for themselves, but still relatively few set the world alight.

Having said that several have made the grade and gone on to achieve great things in the professional arena. In fact we even now have a professional manager amongst our Island alumni. Lee Bradbury has had an impressive start to management after hanging up his boots and replacing the outgoing Eddie Howe at AFC Bournemouth, seven games in and Bradbury is yet to taste defeat as it becomes more of a case of Eddie Whoe at Dean Court!

Cowes born Bradbury is probably the most prominent of the Island pros, making the step up back in 1995 with Portsmouth. It was in 1996/97 season though that he really launched his career, his goal output in a struggling Pompey side was enough for Frank Clark to invest £3 million to take the Islander to Manchester City. While the move may not have worked out exactly as he would have liked, it was a monumental milestone for Island footballers, especially as it was soon followed by an England U-21 call up, and Lee wasn’t finished there. Going on to make over 500 football league appearances including spells for clubs as prominent as Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday before opting for the dugout at Dean Court this year, versatility played a key part in a long career, a player that started off very much a striker used his experience to perform in midfield and at full back in the latter stages.

Lee Bradbury - The Cowes Special One? Picture courtesy of afcb.co.uk

While Bradbury was forging the early stages of his career another Islander was progressing in the youth team at Bournemouth. Sandown lad James Hayter used a loan spell at non-league Salisbury City to show the Dorset club what he could do, and soon found himself a first team regular.

His impression on Bournemouth manager Sean O’Driscoll was notable, as soon after he moved from Dean Court to Doncaster Rovers he broke the Yorkshire club’s transfer record to take Hayter with him. It was here that Hayter had his finest moment, when he headed Rovers into the Championship, scoring the solitary goal in the 2008 League One Playoff final at Wembley.

The year 2000 saw two Islanders hit the local headlines, Lewis Buxton from East Cowes and Shaun Cooper from Newport both signing professional terms with Portsmouth. Buxton made an almost instant impact, earning rave reviews while still a teenager in Graham Rix’s side.  Unfortunately, both players were victims of a policy that didn’t involve the use of the clubs younger players when Harry Redknapp took over, both players spent spells away on loan before moving away permanently in 2005, Buxton to Stoke City, Cooper to Bournemouth.

Lewis’ stay in the potteries was interrupted by injuries, but he still managed to play 50 games before a loan spell at Hillsbrough became a permanent move, where now he is the first choice right back for Sheffield Wednesday.

Cooper made himself at home with the Cherries and captained the side through both the difficult points deduction season and the following promotion campaign.

Lewis Buxton heading for sucess? Picture courtesy of swfc.co.uk

It was also the youth system at Pompey that saw the emergence of another Islander, Gary Silk, now plying his trade for Blue Square Conference side Mansfield Town via Notts County.

Islanders have fared less successfully at the Southampton Academy, famed for it’s production of top players. As recently as the start of this season Island youngster Tom Dunford was released by the Saints, while Lake born Goalkeeper Simon Moore may have felt his chance of a career in the professional game may have passed him by after his time there. Moore though now finds himself on the books of League One Brentford after biding his time at Brading Town and Farnborough. Moore is now Wembley bound after the bees reached the final of the Johnstones Paint Trophy. While Cowes lad Aaron Martin had to “do it the hard way” via Non-League clubs before signing for Southampton last season.

Though not a born and bred Islander former Cowes High student Gary Rowett got as far as the Premier League with Everton in the mid nineties, matched by Jamie Lawrence who went from Westwood Park to the likes of Leicester City, all be it that his stay on the Island may not have been through choice……

From a county that boasts just 140,000 people, our contribution to the sports professional ranks isn’t really that bad. The biggest hurdle faced by Island footballers certainly isn’t the stretch of water that separates us from everyone else but the number of local clubs and the size of the local leagues which seem to dwindle year on year. Add to this the reduction in efforts of clubs like Portsmouth because of financial issues; it might be more difficult than ever to shine.

Hopefully all the names mentioned above will show talented kids that location can mean nothing if the dedication to succeed is there and certainly not to give up.

Chris