Saturday 9th November 2019
Aylesbury Vale Dynamo’s v Newport Pagnell Town
Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division
(This season’s) League standings:
South Midlands League Premier Division (21 teams)
Aylesbury Vale Dynamos 12th
Newport Pagnell Town 2nd
(Last season’s) League standings:
Southern League Division One Central (20 teams)
Aylesbury FC 19th (r)
United Counties League Premier Division (20 teams)
Newport Pagnell Town 8th
This game last season:
Last six games:
L 4-1 away v Aylesbury United 6th November BBST
D 3-3 home v Arlesey Town 26th October SSMFL
L 3-1 away v Colney Heath 19th October SSMFL
L 5-1 away v Stansted 12th October FAV
D 1-1 away v Reading City 7th October BBSC (won on penalties)
L 4-2 away v London Colney 5th October SSMFL
Newport Pagnell Town:
W 4-2 home v Coggeshall Town 2nd November FAV
W 4-0 home v The 61 FC (Luton) 29th October SSMFL LCT
D 0-0 away v Oxhey Jets 26th October SSMFL
D 3-3 away v Crawley Green 22nd October SSMFL
W 4-3 home v Biggleswade United 19th October SSMFL
W 3-4 away v Dunstable Town 12th October SSMFL
Full Name: Joseph Fitzgerald
Age: 21 (20/01/1998)
Nickname at club: Fitzy
Marital status: In a Relationship
Fave holiday destination: San Diego
Preferred shirt number: 10
Most effective position on the pitch: Apparently right back, I tell everyone I’m a 10 and they don’t believe me!
Daytime job: Sports Coach
Former clubs: Hemel Hempstead Town FC, Aylesbury FC, Tring Athletic FC
We asked Joe:
Signed on for Aylesbury this season, what influenced your choice and were there any other clubs that wanted you?
I’ve got history with Aylesbury and to return was always on my mind at some stage. I came here on loan from Hemel at the age of eighteen under gaffer Danny Gordon at first and then Davis Haule, I’m very grateful for the opportunities they gave me at the club. From there I grew friendships with the committee members, the fans and volunteers at the club, some of which aren’t involved now but I still contact, such as Mr & Mrs Fish who would feed us cakes after the games! Darren and April who nicknamed me “Little Joe” and would tear me apart in the bar afterwards regardless of my performance, all good banter though. Mike Farquharson, who’s a top bloke and feeds us all every Thursday after training, and of course Rosanna Martone and Ben Stevens, who have become as close as family. I’ve had so many great experiences on and off the pitch all centred around the football club.
I then also have a very good friendship with Paul Bonham, and he had been in my ear for months about coming down! Initially, having been at Tring and missing out on the title, I must admit I had intended to give it another go there. But when I came to Aylesbury for a chat with Bonham, there must have been over thirty volunteers down here, working in the clubhouse and on the pitch, including the chairman Mike, who offered me a beer, told me about the visions of the club etc and it was then I knew I wanted to represent him and the people involved with the club on the field. I signed that day.
Yes, I had other offers, I was genuinely surprised about the number of offers I had if I’m honest! And I’m grateful for the managers and coaches that contacted me. But Aylesbury Vale was just the perfect club for me and if I went back in time, I’d still make the same choice
How do you feel your season has gone for you personally so far?
For me, I think I’ve been playing well. With my work timetable it can be difficult to prepare for games at times, but so far, it’s probably one of my strongest starts to a season on an individual level. But I demand the maximum from my teammates and for me there is always room for more and I’m hopeful I can get more out of myself in the coming games
Coming into the winter months now, what is the minimum you expect from now until the end of the season for the squad?
Winter months in the Spartan Prem are tough. Conditions of pitches worsen, you get the freezing cold Tuesday night games away from home and matches become battles rather than football games, but the best teams find a way to win regardless, and that’s what I want us to be, the best team. In terms of expectation, I want us to compete in every game we play in. I am a winner, and for me I want to win every match
Who has been your biggest influence in football?
I’m a Spurs fan (tough at the moment!), and as a kid I used to love watching Robbie Keane play for them. His ability, his football brain, his work rate and passion for the game, I really enjoyed watching him play. Obviously, my poor mum and dad too having to take me in all weathers to games and training sessions before I could get myself there, I’m very grateful for their support throughout my lifetime.
I must say however, in terms of my own game, that former captain of FC Ben Steven’s has had a huge influence on me, as a player and a man (both good and bad). We have remained very good friends since we met, even if we no longer play together. He’s taught me a lot on and off the field and I am always grateful for him taking me under his wing as a teenager. Although, he’s also taught me never to go into a fifty/fifty with him again, my ankles never been the same!
How was the game at Aylesbury United on Wednesday night from a Vale point of view, & were the squad happy with the performance if not the result?
I think it’s a steep learning curve for us, we are a team that’s growing. Individual mistakes, including my own with the penalty, put the game beyond us, but at times I think we matched them, especially in the first half, but they are a quality side with some good individual players and it’s no surprise they’ve had a strong start to the season.
We obviously went into the game as underdogs with them now being a league above us and the quality they have throughout their squad. We obviously knew it was going to be tough to get a result but we believed we could, the real disappointment for us was I don’t think we performed as well as we could have done; we know what we are capable of against anyone and unfortunately we didn’t rise to the occasion this time.
It’s hard to take a derby defeat, but we can take positives from the games and learn from the experience. We’ve got a chance Saturday to put things right and I’m confident we will
Describe how your two games previously have been?
Tough, we’ve obviously dipped in form compared to the start of the season, but that happens when you have a young team, plus it’s no secret we have had so many injuries to key players in key positions early on in our season. I think if I’m honest we’ve gifted some goals away at key times and that’s cost us, however, to come from two goals down twice in difficult conditions against Arlesey, showed the grit and togetherness we have as a team and I fully expect our results to start picking up again. We are a good team with young players, who are gaining experience and minutes at this level and are getting better and better every week
Home to Newport Pagnell Town this week, do you know anything about them & what are you expecting from them?
If I’m honest, not a lot, I know they have been banging in goals and are pushing at the top of the table, I’d expect a pretty open game and us to have to deal with their attacking threats. But I know what we are capable of, and on our pitch, in front of our fans, I expect a proper contest of a game
Who is the biggest moaner in the dressing room?
It varies Ha ha! Carl Tappin loves a moan to himself about pretty much anything, Dalts moans about the showers every week. Macca loves a moan too, usually nothing to do with football mind you! I don’t mind a moan either! It’s ok to moan
What is your typical pre-match routine before you get to the ground?
I normally get away from coaching at 12:30 over in Kings Langley so I try and grab some food from the cafe if I’ve got time and then hope I get to the ground at 1:30! The boys kill me on fines for being late!
What has been the proudest moment for you in football to date?
Hmm, tough one. I’m very proud to be club captain of Aylesbury Vale that’s for sure. But probably signing my professional contract with Hemel when I was seventeen with all my family with me on the pitch
In your current squad, who is the most under rated player in your opinion?
I think we are blessed with some great players. I value and appreciate everyone in our squad for what they can do for us, so I don’t think under rated is the right term, but Bruno has been superb for us. He’s simply a really good, intelligent footballer and a top bloke. I’ve found a good friend in him this season
Who has the worst dress sense at the club?
Wow. There’s a few stinkers in our team. But Harry Scott seems to wear the same outfit everytime we go out and Mezza (Lewis Merridan) must get changed in the dark. Sorry not sorry boys!
What has been the worst piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
Davis Haule, manager at the time versus Royston a few years ago. Their winger that day is still probably the best player I’ve come up against, he had the beating of me that day. We’re three-nil down after thirty minutes in the swirling wind and rain, Davo has told me to “smash him on his first touch” from the side-line while the ball was high in the air, I’ve gone for the big tackle, the winger has killed the ball dead, pushed it with his other foot through my legs and gone on to score. I looked at Davo, who was laughing with his hands on his head on the touchline just shouting “wow he’s killed Fitzy” – We still laugh about it now
When you leave the football pitch on a Saturday, what is the first result you look for elsewhere, and why?
Local football wise, I live in Tring and still have some friends over there involved with the club, so I look out for them. I’m a Spurs fan too so I check my phone after the game to see who we’ve lost to this time…
Who is the last person you would let choose the music in the dressing room (or car) on matchday, and why?
Wethers has got some questionable tunes, the boys don’t trust him with the aux, It’s like a seventies disco. I don’t mind a bit of “cheese room” stuff every now and then but the younger lads hate it!
What’s the one game left this season you most want to win and why?
I want to win every game this season. Regardless of the opponent. I try not to look too far ahead in terms of fixtures. It’s a bit of a cliché but I just take each game as it comes
Finally, after you’ve scored a hattrick on Saturday, what can supporters buy you in the bar afterwards?
If I score a hattrick at all this season, I’ll buy you a bottle of champagne and we can raise a glass to my retirement!
Sports Shots would like to thank Joe for his time this week