Sgorio reporter Nicky John has been getting to know some of the players and managers with in the Welsh Premier League to get an insight into what makes them tick!
This week Nicky chats with Bangor City defender, Michael Johnston.
Michael, looking back, how do you assess the first half of the season?
Obviously, with the transition period we’ve been through, our main aim was to reach the top 6. I feel we’ve grown as the season has gone on, and think we can be happy with our progress so far.
On a personal note, I think I could’ve performed better in some games and maybe helped turn some of the draws and defeats at the start of the season into wins by not conceding as many, but all in all it’s been a success and I’m looking forward to pressing for 3rd in the table, possibly 2nd place now.
What are you most looking forward to in the second phase?
Just to get back playing again. We need to put the club back where it should be, and that’s in Europe.
Last season was a major disappointment for us and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season to put things right and hopefully reach Europe again.
Which performance have you been most proud of?
On a personal level I think the best game I’ve performed in has got to be the Champions League match at home against HJK Helsinki. Even though we ended up being defeated, I think that was one of the best performances I have given.
Through all you’ve achieved with the club, what has been your proudest moment on the pitch to date?
Winning three Welsh Cups on the bounce is a great achievement for anybody, but for me, the biggest moments for the club has got to be winning the league, going through to the third qualifying round of the Europa League (v Maritimo in 2010/11 season), and beating FC Honka at Wrexham.
... and your biggest disappointment?
Losing the Welsh Cup final last year, and the terrible performance we put in away at TNS a couple years back in the final game of the season which we need to win the league.
What’s your day job when you’re not on the football pitch?
I’m currently working as a primary school teacher in Liverpool. I teach a Year 2 class so that is 6-7 years olds. It’s hard work, but a great job!!
Who is your football hero?
I think I can only look as far as Steven Gerrard. He’s been immense for Liverpool over the years and still plays an important part despite his age now.
I think no matter who you support, you have got to respect what he has done for his club and country.
What was the first football match you ever went to as a fan, and what do you remember of it?!
It was at Anfield many years ago, I think it was Liverpool v West Ham and we (Liverpool) lost and I didn’t go again as my Grandad labelled me a jinx!!
Jamie Petrie named you as one of the players he most admires at the club earlier on in the season, but who inspires you? There are lots of big characters at Bangor City…
Yes there are. This year the dressing room is a great one to be in, everyone is singing from the same sheet.
In terms of inspiration, I feel that I have a big effect on Jay (Petrie) because I can see he can’t take his eyes of me when I play, but it can’t be helped!
But for me, you have to look at the likes of Gerrard, Carragher etc – to play at such a high level at their age is a great achievement.
Who do you travel with on away days, and what are they like for company?!
Anthony Miley. He’s OK, but I had to sort his taste in music out!
Which of your team mates should be arrested by the fashion police?!
Les Davies, definitely. He has a famous yellow t-shirt which I think he wore every day when we went to Madeira for a week a couple years back.
That being said, Jamie McDaid has some awful gear too. His vests are ridiculous.
Lots of the players and managers I’ve spoken to so far mention Bangor as their favourite WPL away trip. What’s yours?
I think I would have to say Rhyl. For the simple reason of the rivalry between the two clubs.
It’s great to see them back in the league, and those are definitely the games you love to play in.
Neath used to be a good one too. We always seemed to go there at crucial times in the season – needing wins.
Luckily enough we always managed to get them, and the trip home for both players and fans were always eventful!
Who’s the most impressive individual you’ve played against this season?
Apart from Jamie Petrie who I have to mention, I think it would have to be Sam Finley at TNS.
Have any teams surprised you?
Two have, really. Rhyl for the way in which they have quietly gone about their business and reached the top six in their first season back, and also Port Talbot.
They’ve hit a bit of form recently and they seem now to be playing the way they should be with the players they have.
On or off the pitch, who would you most like to swap places with for a day?!
It would have to be someone like Jamie Redknapp. He’s made a living out the game and now a pundit on Sky Sports, and enjoying life.
Tell us a random Michael Johnston fact.
I’m quite an open book really – what you see is what you get. Probably the most interesting fact is that my backside isn’t as big as it looks on Sgorio… Honest!
Neither is mine, Michael….