Category: First Team

Player Insight: Stuart Beavon

by Peter Scherer

Stuart Beavon’s Mickleover FC career started in late 2019, when his experience soon played a major part in the team’s progress.

With Grandad Cyril a professional in the Ron Atkinson days at Oxford United and Father Stuart a midfielder at Tottenham and Reading, football has always played a major part in his life.

I always had a ball at my feet as soon as I could walk, so I think it was obvious I would follow them.

Has he always been a striker with an eye for goal?

No I actually started out as an attacking centre midfielder. Then I started playing up front by chance and didn’t stop scoring, so stayed there.

Having started in local non-league, he moved on via the Conference to play for Wycombe Wanders, Preston North End, Burton Albion and Coventry City. But does he still follow any of his former teams?

I would say Burton as I still live in the area and always look out for their results and watch them on TV. It was probably the most the most enjoyable club I’ve played for and I definitely need to get back there to watch a few games.

In his latter days at Coventry he had been on loan at Wrexham, but left the Sky Blues in May 2019. But how did he get to Mickleover?

I had a call from Mickleover coach Steve Taylor when I left Coventry and ended up going to Nuneaton. It didn’t work out there so I rang Steve back and asked the question and probably regret not signing straight away to be honest. It’s been a long time since I enjoyed my football as much as I do now

In previous conversations he has discussed the pride of being the third generation of his family to win a medal in his career, especially seeing all three medals together.

Yes I have my Dad and Grandads league winner’s medals to go with the one I won at Burton. Something I can pass on to my son and make it even more special.

Over his career he has faced some of the games toughest defenders. But who would he rate the toughest of all and why?

I would have to say Danny Batth. Wolves defender he was on loan at Sheffield Wednesday when I faced him. I literally never got a kick of the ball and he was so good at getting his team going, he didn’t stop all game.

You have being zoom sessions with the rest of the team during Lockdown, does it help with team spirit?

Yes they’re brilliant. Good for a laugh and it keeps all the boys in contact. Everyone puts in the hard work which is good, I think the only one that struggles is poor Wrighty.

But what does he like doing away from football?

I have three kids so try and do as much as possible with them, even though it’s been hard through Lockdown. Also not that I have done it for years, but I do like a bit of fishing.

How does he normally prepare before a match?

I work until about 4pm the day before and get back to see the kids. Once they’re in bed I put my feet up and probably stick Eastenders on and maybe watch a series of some sort with my wife.

We know it’ been a short season again, but were you surprised how well it went?

No I wasn’t really as you could see the team spirit we have and everyone works hard for each other. We have players that can win games out of nothing and I was probably more surprised that we lost some of the games we did.

When you heard it confirmed that the season was null and void, what was your first reaction?

Gutted really, I thought we could have gone on to potentially win the league, as I think as a team we were getting better and better. It will make us more determined to start well next season.

There have been many high points in his career, but which one does he rate as the most memorable?

Winning the FA Vase with Didcot Town at White Hart Lane. I scored two goals and it was where my Dad had started his football career, which made it more special.

Player Insight: Mason Warren

by Peter Scherer

Mason Warren came to Mickleover at the beginning of the 2018/19 season and was named captain for this year.

 Doncaster born but it was with neighbouring Rotherham United that his story really begins.

It was my aim to become a professional footballer, like pretty much every young lad around my area, we were brought up playing from a young age, pretending to be our favourite players on the local field.

He was scouted locally and signed for Rotherham, he did make the first team, but was released after a number of loan spells.

I was 15 or 16 when I signed and spent five years there. Happy times but didn’t get the breaks I needed.

He hasn’t always been a midfielder though.

I played centre midfield when I was young, but due to my size when I was about 12, I got moved to left back.

I stayed in that position until 18 or 19 when I moved back into midfield thankfully.

He is the favoured penalty and free kick taker, but did he volunteer for this?

Yes, I always put my name in the hat for set pieces and penalties. There are a couple of boys trying to steal the penalty duty, but I think my record speaks for itself.

Has being the captain and the extra responsibilities that brings affected his game?

If anything I think it’s probably helped really, with that extra responsibility I think tends to bring the best out of people. It’s also helped that the boys have been flying, so it’s worked out perfectly all round.

 You have been doing zoom sessions with the rest of the players during Lockdown, does that help with team spirit?

It’s been great to be honest, as much as the sessions are tough and not nice at the time, it’s kept everyone in contact and kept the team spirit together. Sergeant Phil Squat as we call him now has done a cracking job if keeping us ticking over.

But what does he do away from football?

I love a round of golf and will try my hand at pretty much any sport to be honest, but apart from that I like spending time with my family. Maybe a cinema trip, food out and I’m prone to that regularly.

So what do you normally do before a match?

I tend to chill out, maybe see some mates and relax, then try and get an early ish  night and a good sleep.

We know it’s been a short season again, but are you surprised how well it went?

In all honesty yes. I knew we had a great group of lads, but I thought maybe with all the new signings it may take us a bit of time to gel. But we were straight out of the traps and once up and running we never looked like stopping, which makes the season postponement that bit more disappointing.

When he heard the season was null and void, this was his first reaction.

Disappointing obviously, but ultimately we all expected that to be the case after recent mishaps in the world. For us though it’s just made us more determined to start next season off even better than this one, whenever that might be.

People will write us off and expect us to fall away, but I think that’s when we’re at our best as a team.

What are your fondest memories from your career so far?

Playing at Wembley for my Primary School team in year six. We went through various stages and qualified for the final there. Even though we got beat it was a memory I will never forget.

Our Chairman Speaks On The FA’s Decision

by Peter Scherer

Yesterdays announcement that the Northern Premier League Premier Division would be null and void for the second successive season, was a bitter pill to swallow for table toppers Mickleover FC.

Having overcome cup runs and waterlogged pitches causing postponements, Mickleover’s perseverance to continue had seen them play 10 of their 42 matches, in contrast to Matlock Town who had only managed six.

The FA decision not to extend the season into June for tiers 3-6 was the final nail in the coffin, making it impossible to complete the remaining fixtures.

We expected this, but we were always prepared to play behind closed doors. Our players had offered to play for expenses only and sort them out with a bonus in the future and just continue to play for their love of the game.

We have to remember they are part timers and we owe the lads really and it’s a sad way to end the season again.

says Chairman Don Amott.

Player Insight: Paddy Webb

by Peter Scherer

Paddy Webb came to Mickleover FC in late 2019, a well proven goalscorer in lower leagues, making the step up to NPL action.

I had always hoped to be a footballer as it’s always been and always will be a huge part of my life. I like to think realistically and knew it isn’t as easy as people sometimes make out. If I was to make a full-time career out of it, then brilliant. If not then I will always enjoy whatever level I play at.

Although he is from Nottingham he joined Derby County.

I joined Derby when I was 13 and had two seasons there, some highs and some lows. It was an easy decision for me though, as I had been messed around a few times by Forest Academy both before and after my Derby days.

Is he still a Forest fan though?

Yes Forest ‘til I die, but no love lost for their Academy,

He then went to Mansfield Town for a while, before dropping into the lower leagues where his prolific goalscoring feats were noticed by Mickleover.

I hit the ground running at Mickleover last season. I found the step difficult as an all-round player, but knew if I got the opportunities I would do what I was brought in to do.

Unfortunately both season have been cut short, when I was getting into goals coring form.

He is seen mainly as a target striker down the middle, but favours running on to the long ball.

Being left footed I was always utilised on the left wing by most of my managers. But a few years ago I told my manager I wanted to play down the middle.

I would never regard myself as an amazing all-round player, however I do think my style of play has added a different dimension to the team and a few more goals.

So being the runner down the middle is his position of choice?

Definitely happier there yes. I love the ball in behind where I can stretch the defence. It opens the game up and utilises my strengths, freeing up the pitch for the ball players.

We’ve got lots of talent in the team on the ball too, which I believe always needs someone who’s going to make the runs to allow them to play.

What does he feel is the strongest part of his own game?

Although I hit a rough patch at the start of this season, I still consider my best attribute to be my finishing. With a full season and the backing of the manager, I believe I could score 20 plus.

 But away from football what does he like doing? 

I work in construction management, which accommodates a part time degree. With my football it’s a very busy life. Ultimately though it’s a life I enjoy and is fairly rewarding.

If my footballing career never went any higher than this, I would still love to play at this level alongside my day job.

When I am not playing, I’m watching it, which drives my girlfriend mad. I love getting out at the weekend, taking the dog out, which can be rare as it’s normally football on a Saturday. In some ways it’s been nice to have a break, as it’s not something we would normally do in the winter.

You have been doing zoom sessions with the rest of the players during Lockdown, does that help with team spirit?

The sessions are great but I don’t think the team spirit would die even without them. This is the best dressing room I’ve been involved in, as there are no big egos, just a group of players who play for each other and the manager. It makes winning games all the better.

So what do you normally do before a match?

I try and relax, eat right and prepare myself mentally. I’m not ashamed to say I get nervous before every game, a fear of underperforming and letting the team down is only natural for me. I suppose it’s a good thing as I always want to do the best for them and myself.

We know it’s been a short season again, but are you surprised how well it’s gone?

After the first few games I was being honest. However once we got that first win and I saw what we could do, our work rate was far too good for most teams we played. It’s amazing how simple and effective a bit of hard work can be. Moments of quality from everyone then shine through and produce results.

 So what have you missed most during Lockdown’s?

Everything. I need a holiday, a pint, a meal out, a football match, you name it. The sooner we are back to normal the better.

What are your fondest memories from your career so far?

New Years Day against Stafford Rangers away. Being my first game for Mickleover I was bricking it. Coming away with a 1-0 win and the goal, was what I was dreaming of the night before. I don’t think I’ve ever had a greater relief than hearing that final whistle.

FA Statement: An update on Steps 3-6 of the NLS 

The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have now considered the large amount of data and information submitted by clubs across the National League System (NLS) Steps 3-6 as part of a survey to gather views on the continuation or conclusion of the 2020-21 league season, in addition to the information set out in the Government’s roadmap this week. 

Submissions were made by 99.1% of clubs at Steps 3 and 4, and 95.8% of clubs at Steps 5 and 6. We would like to thank the clubs for submitting their views and the time taken in providing responses during what we appreciate is an incredibly challenging period for everyone. The results of the survey showed that over 76% of all clubs across Steps 3-6 indicated a preference to curtail the 2020-21 league season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before 1 April 2021. 

During this process, taking into account views of clubs and leagues it was decided that extending the 2020-21 league season beyond the end of May 2021 would not be a viable option. This was due to various considerations, including the financial implications for many clubs, player contracts and the extent of the fixture scheduling issues caused by the national lockdown and various postponements which had resulted in there being 81% of matches left to complete for Steps 3 and 4, and 75% at Steps 5 and 6. 

Taking into account the survey results and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, which continues to adversely affect incomes for clubs due to restrictions on both spectators and hospitality, The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have reached a consensus that subject to the approval of FA Council, the 2020-21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season. 

The Committees will now present their collective recommendations to The FA Council for ratification. 

It has also been decided that subject to FA Council’s decision regarding the curtailment of the season at Steps 3 to 6, both committees will revisit discussions around a potential restructure at Steps 4-6 of the NLS, which was previously agreed and has been on hold since the 2019-20 season. A further update on this will be provided in due course. 

Player Insight: James Butler

by Peter Scherer

James Butler was one of the new pre-season signings for Mickleover FC, a reliable and hardworking central defender, with a good pedigree.

James’ father Tony  was also a defender, with over 500 senior games under his belt in a 15 year career, spanning Gillingham, Blackpool, Port Vale, West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City.

I have always wanted to be a pro-footballer, and with my Dad having played, I grew up around it and wanted to follow in his footsteps in making a pro career.

I want to get back into the full time game one day, but at the moment I am very happy at Mickleover and excited to see what we can do next season.

Cheshire born he started out at Nantwich Town.

I joined Stoke City when I was 10 years old, after being scouted at Nantwich, they asked me to go for a trial.

After about six weeks they told me that they wanted me to sign and from then on I just worked my way through the age groups.

I left Stoke when I was 19, so I had been there almost 10 years, so it was hard because that’s all I had ever known. Training over there four to five times aweek as a schoolboy after school, and then being there on a daily basis once I went full time.

So yeah, leaving a club I spent so much of my life at, but I am glad things turned out the way they did, because I wouldn’t be where I am today otherwise.

He hasn’t always been a defender though.

When I was about six or seven I was a right winger and I wasn’t bad there, as ultimately no six year old wants to be a centre half.

It didn’t take long for me to move to centre back though, so I can’t have been as good a winger as I thought.

My Dad would always tell me that I was going to end up there, as he was a centre half and I’m glad I listened to him now, as I am not really built to be a winger and lack a bit of pace to be out there too.

You seem to quite critical of your own performances on occasions, is that part of your game?

I’ve always been quite critical of myself and my performances, because there are very few games where you can come off afterwards and think, I couldn’t have done any better today.

I always try to watch games back to see where I could do better, if it’s the smallest thing I try and take that thought into the next game, so that I am constantly improving and progressing.

The gaffer is a great help as well, he’ll send me clips from the game to show me things I’ve done well and things I could have done better, so that’s a massive help for me.

Away from football what does he like doing? 

I am working Monday to Friday, but in my spare time I like going out with friends, whether that’s for food or a drink. I also enjoy going to the gym whenever I can, so being closed at the moment is annoying.

You have been doing zoom sessions with the rest of the players during Lockdown, does that help with team spirit?

Yes the zooms have been really good. Full credit to Watty as he’s there every session and puts a great workout on. I think they help massively with keeping us close as a team too, but I think we are as close as any team anyway. I have never played in a team that is as close as we are and that’s obviously shown on the pitch this season.

So what do you normally do before a match?

As I am working the day before a game, I usually go to the gym after work and do a light session, then I tend to chill out at home so I am ready for the game.

We know it’s been a short season again, but are you surprised how well it’s gone?

Before the season started I would never have guessed we’d be top of the league at this stage, because being a new signing I obviously hadn’t seen any of the other lads play before. But once we got started training and playing together and I saw what good players we have here and you could tell we were going to be right up there.

Hopefully next season we can build on what we’ve started this year and do what we’re on course for this season, getting promoted.

What are your fondest memories from your career so far?

The best is when I was on loan at Kidsgrove and we got to the last qualifying round of the FA Cup, playing Hartlepool away.

We lost 1-0 but we got clapped off the pitch by their fans. That led to another memory, because after that game I got a loan move to Hartlepool which was good experience for me.

Player Insight: Kemy Agustien

by Peter Scherer

Kemy Agustien joined Mickleover FC towards the end of last season. A skilful and strong central midfielder and free kick specialist, having represented Curacao as a full international and played Premiership football in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark.

My only option was being a footballer. I never liked school and football was the easiest and quickest way to help my family and put food on the table.

He was born in the Netherlands Antilles, but moved to the Netherlands at the age of four.

I started my football in Holland. When I was six I joined the local club Willem II, I was the only one so young. A neighbour of mine worked as a driver for the club, picking up players from their homes to go training.

He saw me playing outside the house everyday and then asked the coach if I could come and train with them. Normally you need to get scouted, but after only one session I wasn’t allowed to leave any more.

He had played for the Netherlands at junior international levels, but made got his first full cap for Curacao.

My heart was always with Curacao and when the opportunity came and Patrick Kluivert was the manager, it was a simple decision to make.

As well as playing Premiership football in the UK, he also played at the top level in the Netherlands, Scotland, Wales, Denmark and the Philippines, before his long career brought him to Mickleover.

The Mickleover move came about when I met Jonah Jones during a training session for our boys at Aston Villa. Then I found that Bevbatov was playing at Mickleover too, because I played with him at Wrexham.

After speaking with Bev I had a meeting with the Gaffer. We spoke about football but more importantly we spoke about everything outside football too, and that’s where I could see his man management was spot on.

We always known Kemy as a midfield general sort of player, but he’s played elsewhere too.

I used to be a winger when I started. Then they put me at Centre Half, where I played a couple of games against my will, and then told them it they’re not playing me in midfield anymore, I’m not coming.

The next game I was in midfield, scored a couple of goals and never left that position again.

Who does Kemy rate as the best manager he has played under? 

Brendan Rogers at Swansea, Van Gaal and Kluivert, plus Macca has got the qualities to reach the top too. But Rogers and Kluivert’s man management was unbelievable they made sure everything outside football was good. As we know if a player is happy and doesn’t have to think about stuff on the pitch, he’ll do the job for you on there.

But away from football what does he like doing? 

Spend time with my family, my kids are my everything, especially having grown up without a father figure. I want to make sure I am with them, making memories for life.

You have been doing zoom sessions with the rest of the players during Lockdown, does that help with team spirit?

Yes Philly is killing me every time. Not a joke and keep shouting at the rest. Footballers only need one yard, it’s not about running it’s about football and thinking. But joking aside, it’s always nice catching up with everybody.

So what do you normally do before a match?

I’m always chilled and relaxed. I don’t have a specific thing, just follow what my heart says.

We know it’s been a short season again, but are you surprised how well it’s gone?

To be honest I am not surprised. We have a good mix of hunger and quality. I mean we can fight and do the dirty side, especially UPSIDE DOWN! But on the same hand I think we are the best football playing team as well. So if we combine this, then I have to say that we could be unstoppable.

So what have you missed most during Lockdown’s?

Nutmegging, especially Stiffler (Ravenhill).

What are your fondest memories from your career so far?

Man of the match for playing against Manchester United, with only three hours sleep the night before, as I didn’t expect to be playing.

Player Insight: George Milner

by Peter Scherer

George Milner was another close season signing for Mickleover FC, an attacking midfielder with a never say die attitude.

I have always wanted to be a professional footballer and luckily enough I achieved that dream in 2017 when I moved to Norway. Even though it was only for one year I ultimately still want to get back into full time football, but right now I am loving every minute at Mickleover.

 Born and bred in the north of the county, George started out at Stockport County.

I was there from seven to 14 but then their Academy closed as the club went into administration. Then I had trials with four or five clubs, but got told on many occasions that I was too small.

I was lucky at the age of 16 as Chesterfield took me on and offered me a youth team contract.

 He had always been a striker in his early days.

Yes I had, but I started to play in midfield when I was in Norway. Then was upfront and midfield when I was at Belper Town last season.

I feel I have found my position here at Mickleover, with the formation we play. I’m happy to play anywhere the gaffer wants me to play. It’s getting the game time that is so important to me.

A lot of people say the same thing about me, I have always been like I am, always giving 100% no matter what I’m doing, if its playing football or in everyday life. I’m a big believer in the saying, “Hard work beats talent, when talent fails to work hard.”

But away from football what does he like doing? 

I like to play golf or go to the pub or restaurants with friends and family. I do like a night out every now and again, but don’t like getting up the next day with a bad hangover.

You have been doing zoom sessions with the rest of the players during Lockdown, does that help with team spirit?

Yeah the zoom workout’s have been class for our fitness, but it also helped by keeping in touch with everyone and the banter is always flying about no matter what.

We all wish Phil Watt could learn something different to squat though!

So what do you normally do before a match?

I’m normally working the day before, but when I get home I usually just make my tea, give the house a clean, then just chill out and relax, maybe watch some TV.

We know it’s been a short season again, but are you surprised how well it’s gone?

In a way I am not surprised we are doing so well, because I could tell from the first session of pre-season that we have a lot of quality players at Mickleover.

It’s more the people outside the club that are probably surprised that we are top of the table.

So what have you missed most during Lockdown’s?

Football wise I have missed the games obviously. Also being around a changing room with the lads, with the banter flying about. Not missed Andrew Wright (also know as ANDY, or Rolland) though.

Outside of football I have missed going to my parents house for a Sunday dinner or a cup of tea. I really miss being able to socialise with my friends and having them round at my house too.

My fondest footballing memories are making my professional debut in Norway for Valdres in front of 6,000 fans and then with Belper Town plying away to Notts County in the FA Cup October 2019.

Player Insight: Andrew Wright

by Peter Scherer

Andrew Wright came to Mickleover FC in late 2019, a hardworking midfielder, who always has an eye for the goal.

Ever since I remember I was always involved in football. My Dad and Grandad really put it all into perspective for me and became something I always dreamed of doing.

He comes from Mansfield originally but started his junior football at Chesterfield.

I had been released by Chesterfield and joined Lincoln City at the age of 14/15 after being offered a trial, which led to six enjoyable years there.

He is known for his powerful runs from midfield, but has he always played there?

When I started at Chesterfield I was a centre forward. As everyone knows I love scoring goals, but when I signed for Lincoln I wanted to get more involved in football matches, so moved back into centre midfield and centre attacking midfield.

It clear that you are happy taking a shot on goal from most angles and at any distance?

It’s always been part of my game, as there’s no better feeling than scoring. So every chance I get to try and score I do. I work a lot on trying to strike the ball as cleanly as possible, so the chances I get from outside  of the box I enjoy the most.

But away from football what does he like doing? 

I like to go for a walk now and again when the weather is good. Catching up with the lads over a few beers, watching footy and I also like watching Motorcycle racing and F1. I work as a plumber though, so I’m always very busy.

You have been doing zoom sessions with the rest of the players during Lockdown, does that help with team spirit?

It’s been tough but rewarding. Watty has been a class addition to the team this year and for him to get us all on his sessions and motivate us like he is, has been spot on.

I feel it’s definitely kept us close as a team and we have also done an upside down head Gorge Milner quiz on zoom over a few beers, so that was a good relaxing call for us all. Overall the mood is good in the squad and the lads touch base every day.

So what do you normally do before a match?

I’m usually working the day before, but in the evening I like to go have tea with my Grandma and chill out, so I am ready and raring to on Saturday.

We know it’s been a short season again, but are you surprised how well it’s gone?

I am yes, but we knew what talent we had in the dressing room. The Gaffer has always recruited good footballers at the club and so we knew we would be in and around the top. To be at the top of the league though is brilliant for the club and the group of players as a whole, keeping spirits up through Lockdown and a massive statement to where we want to be next season, or of if this one carries on.

So what have you missed most during Lockdowns?

Waking up on a Saturday morning with a game lined up in the afternoon. Also training and a chance to break the week up and catch up with the lads a few times a week,

What are your fondest memories from your career so far?

It was signing my first professional contract at Lincoln City. A very special moment for me and my family.

Player Insight: Alex Morris

by Peter Scherer

Alex Morris was another close season signing at Mickleover FC, a solid defending left back, with a flair for the overlap.

As a kid it was always my dream to become a professional footballer. I have no regrets over it not happening, as I love playing non-league football, and really enjoy my job as a PE teacher, so wouldn’t change a thing.

Hailing from the Potteries, Alex’s talents were soon spotted by one of his two main local league clubs, Port Vale.

I was nine when I was scouted in a game with my local club. There is still a group of about eight of us who had been together at the club from nine to 18 years of age. Some of them are still playing there now and we are all close mates and talk everyday still.

Although primarily a left wing back, did he ever have aspirations to play elsewhere?

Yes, I would love to say I played up front, but I can’t score for the life of me. l always liked getting forward and contributing with a few assists, but I take most pride in keeping clean sheets. Defending is the first job, if I can go forward and attack, that’s a bonus.

But away from football what does he like doing? 

Anything that involves sport, meeting up with my mates at the pub and seeing as much of the world as possible. All of which has not been happening recently.

You have been doing zoom sessions with the rest of the players during Lockdown, does that help with team spirit?

Massively yes. We’ve got a great group of lads and that’s reflected with how well we’ve been playing.

So what do you normally do before a match?

I’m working normally, but then usually chill out on the Friday evening. It’s the only time my girlfriend sees me over the weekend, so I tend to stay in.

We know it’s been a short season again, but are you surprised how well it’s gone?

It’s my first season up at this level, so I didn’t really know what to expect.  We did well in pre-season, so knew we wouldn’t be far off. We will give it a good go next season for sure!

So what have you missed most during Lockdown’s?

Normal weekends. I love waking up on a Saturday morning, watching soccer am with a couple of oat cakes, then head off to the football.

What are your fondest memories from your career so far?

I’ve had a few good ones. We went on a good FA Cup run while I was at Kidsgrove, but I love nothing more than winning a Derby game, or beating one of my old clubs.