It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Tom Vaudin for a chat, and we managed to grab a few minutes with him the day after our trip to Hanworth Villa. Here’s what he had to say.
First of all, I think there’s a lot of positives we can take from yesterday’s game. It was a really hard pitch to play on, probably the worst conditions I’ve ever played in, but I think the likes of Owen Wallbridge who is very new to the team played really well and showed great character. I also think the opposition had probably the strongest attacking set-up that we’ve played against so far this season and as a squad I think we defended against them really well. You know, they only scored from two mistakes really. They didn’t break us down in open play, so I think that’s definitely a positive and as I say, with such a difficult pitch to play on as well, I thought we showed real togetherness.
It's been a really hard run of defeats but there’s been lots to learn from at the same time. I think we showed terrific fight to get a point out of the Hanworth Villa game, to say we were 3-0 down at one point. There were those two amazing goals from Mez and Zico, and the whole team showed such great unity and fight to come back from 3-0. Three of the old boys on the scoresheet as well which is great to see! We showed real cohesion and team spirit and never gave up. Most people probably would have had us written off at 3-0 down and then Matt Loaring got a goal back before half time. Even then, though, 3-1 is a very hard game to come back from, but we kept going and got a point at the end of the day which is probably more than any of us thought could happen at half time, so it was really good.
As for the Met Police game, it’s another example of how those last-minute goals are always heart-breaking for everybody, especially when you’ve dug so hard for 85, 90 minutes of the game to try to get a point or three points. I think it can be put down to possibly a lapse in concentration and the fact that this is a relatively young squad who haven’t played together very much, so I think it’s definitely something that we need to work on, and learn from, because we don’t want to throw games away right at the end when we’ve dug so hard to win them.
Although I’m still a relatively new face amongst the Green Lions, I’ve actually clocked up almost 50 games already. I can’t believe it to be honest! I’ve learnt so much from the last 46 appearances, such as the physical requirements to play at this level and also the demands it makes mentally. One lapse of concentration at this level and you’re punished, especially at centre back, I would always argue. It’s probably one of the harshest places to be caught because there’s only one person behind you if you make a mistake! So definitely physically and mentally it’s a big step up and I’ve got so much more to learn at the same time.
Talking of appearances, 366 games for Doddie is an incredible stat. I think it’s obvious when you watch him play that he’s a very seasoned centre back. I don’t think there’s a trick in the book he doesn’t know at this point, and from my perspective, learning from him as a mentor in a lot of ways is only going to help my game. Also as a leader, the presence he has in the group, in the changing room, and on the pitch is there for all to see. So, I’ll just try and learn as much as I can from him as long as he can keep playing.
I think Niall has settled very well into the squad actually. You know, he’s only played a handful of games, but he looks really settled at right back. He’s playing against some incredibly tricky wingers, I know that from experience, you know far superior to the players he would have come up against in the past, but I think he’s doing a good job against them. I think Niall’s main strength is going forward. He’s very good on the ball, he’s composed, he’s calm, and he’s got a very good passing accuracy. He can put a ball in the box, and I think that’s just going to become a bigger and bigger asset to us as he gets more experience and more confidence playing at this level.
Returning to the Hanworth Villa game, I was delighted that the referee awarded us that penalty, which drew us level at 4-all, but quite selfishly I was gutted that it couldn’t have been my first goal for the club! It’s definitely something I need to add to my game, as a centre back going forward for corners. I think I do well defensively in the air, but I certainly want to work on becoming more of an aerial attacking threat too. The likes of Jacob Fallaize is a perfect example of that as a centre back, being so dominant in the air, defensively and in the opposition’s box as well.
Have I got a first goal celebration planned? Nothing in mind at the moment, probably shock would be my first impression – but I’d like to think I’d just celebrate it with all the boys because it’s something that I’m looking forward to so much. It’s been a dream of mine to score a goal for GFC since I started watching the club 11 years ago, so just to celebrate with all the boys would be fantastic. Celebrate with the boys AND the fans, I should say!
I think it’s great that Kev is involved in the set-up this season. He was a fine footballer in his day and I think his credentials are there for all to see. He’s got a very tactical and technical brain for football. It’s only going to make all of us far better players, the things he sees on the pitch. The advice and instructions he gives to us as players will be invaluable in us developing as a team and as individuals as we press on this season.
I think we’ve been very unlucky this season to not have picked up more points. So, we face Corinthian-Casuals next, and at the moment the belief in the squad is, to be honest with you, that we think we can beat any team at the minute with the way we’re playing our football. I’d definitely say that the confidence is high in the group, and we hope we can put on a show for the home fans and start to pick up some serious points both at home and away.
We all believe that we can win all these games that we’re playing, and I think we all feel quite hard done by that we haven’t picked up more points because we’ve been in all the games. I think a lot of the time we’ve played better football for the majority of the time than our opposition and it’s been very harsh on us that we haven’t picked up more points. I’d say that with Corinthian-Casuals, just like any team that we play against, we’re confident that we can beat them and hopefully put on a show for the home fans.