Sgorio reporter Nicky John has been getting to know some of the players and managers within the Welsh Premier League to get an insight into what makes them tick!
This week, Nicky chats to Afan Lido striker, Chris Hartland.
Chris, it hasn’t been easy, but results and performances seem to be improving at Lido! What do you put that down to?
It’s been tough. We’ve never been far off the mark but lately things are falling into place for us and we’ve been taking full advantage of that. But we still have a long way to go and a lot of hard work to do for the rest of the season.
On a personal level, what has been your highlight so far this season?
It was great to win goal of the month in October for my goal against Carmarthen, however my highlight so far was my double away to Prestatyn. It was our first win of the season at a very tough venue, and it was great to be part of that.
What do you do when you’re not playing football?
I am a P.E Co-ordinator at a special needs school which is a massive part of my life. It’s a very rewarding and worthwhile job which puts everything into perspective and allows me to go out and enjoy my football.
I like playing different sports throughout the week, keeping fit and dishing out a few hidings to my brother and my mates!
What was the first football match you ever went to as a fan, and what do you remember of it?!
The first football match I ever watched was Wales v Brazil. It was a great fixture and a pleasure to watch as a football fan.
I remember the Brazilian flair and can recall myself thinking I would love to be able to play football in the carefree manner of the Brazilians.
Do you remember your first football kit?
I remember this well because I have always been a Liverpool fan, but we have a family photo of me at a young age wearing a full Manchester United kit which I constantly receive stick about from my family!
Who is your football hero?
My football hero has to be Michael Owen. Being a Liverpool fan I remember all the great goals he scored – he was a born finisher. The goal that always stands out is his legendary goal against Argentina – I can remember going up the field myself and trying to score goals like that.
Which of your team mates do you most admire?
This is an easy one for me. I have a lot of respect for all of the players at the club, but the person who stands out is Gareth Phillips, without a doubt one off the most consistent, hardworking and nicest person/player I’ve ever come across.
He’s the best trainer at the club and is always more than willing to give advice, and help with confidence building.
Who in the Afan Lido dressing room has the worst dress sense?!
There are a few who raise the odd eyebrow – you can put Ryan Batley in that category!
This may cost me my starting place, but I have to say that the gaffer Paul Evans – who is a very stylish man, does tend to try a relive his younger years with a few rascal bits of gear!
What’s your favourite away trip in the Welsh Premier League?
My favourite away trip is Bangor, despite the distance and the fact I’ve never won there.
When you arrive, there’s always a good feeling about the place. It’s a great place to get the ball down to play, and the fans create a good atmosphere which is always nice to play in front of.
Which opposition players have impressed you so far this season?
The league is full of top players in their own right. Of course the TNS lads are great at what they do, but to pick out a few, Lee Owens at Airbus UK is a top player. He’s a quick and solid defender, always looking to get forward.
Mark Jones of Bala Town is a very good technical player, as well as being very clever and creative; and Kyle Bassett at Carmarthen who is in his first year in the Welsh Premier league is a very powerful and positive footballer, which is always nice to see.
On or off the pitch, who would you most like to swap places with for a day?!
That’s a tough one, because it would be fun to experience several different characters, but from a football perspective, with the incredible talent he has, and being the perfect athlete, I’d have to say Cristiano Ronaldo.
Finally, what’s at the top of Chris Hartland’s Christmas wish list?!
Well, I would have to say apart from my beautiful girlfriend, family and friends having a great Christmas, I would also like six points on both our derby days, with a goal or two over the festive season!