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 speaks to Michael Wilde of The New Saints.
You’re sitting pretty at the top of the table with just over a month of the season to go. Who do you feel the pressure is on most of all, yourselves or Airbus?!
I would have to say it’s always best to have the points on the board, and also the fact that our lads have been in this position several times before stands us in good stead.
I believe that Airbus will push us much further than last season, but we have the best squad and individuals in the league.
You’ve a big Welsh Cup semi-final coming up too. How important is it to reach the final following the disappointment of going out in the semis to Bangor last year?
Our expectations at TNS are very high and reaching the Welsh Cup Final is of importance to us, especially after last year’s disappointment.
Also personally, I haven’t been involved in the Welsh Cup Final for over 6 years, so it would be great if I was to sample the occasion and try to win the trophy once again.
What have been some of your proudest moments at The New Saints over the years?
There have been some real highlights for me at TNS, from winning titles to scoring important goals, but the stand out and proudest moment for me was to run out at a sold-out Anfield in the Champions League after Liverpool had only just been crowned European champions 6 weeks previously.
Last season was also good for me on a personal note as I finished with the Golden Boot as well as Welsh Premier Player of the Season.
…and your highlight so far this season?
I would have to say the last minute goal I scored at Afan Lido, there isn’t a better feeling than scoring a last minute winner.
You must also be very proud to hold the club’s all-time goal scoring record within the league?
I didn’t even know of this record until now! But yes am very happy of this achievement, especially when I look back and remember some of the great goal scores the club have had over the years.
Who do you travel and share a room with on away trips?!
I like to mix with all the lads so I don’t really have one in particular roomy although European trips have seen me share with Chris Seargeant, who’s a good lad – makes a boss brew !
What’s your earliest football memory?
An early memory that is deeply ingrained in my head is one of me throwing cushions at the TV when Michael Thomas of Arsenal scored against Liverpool in 1989 to win the English 1st Division. Arsenal needed to win by two goals to take the title off Liverpool and once again a last minute goal decided the outcome. I was gutted and inconsolable but I was hooked on football from that point as those 90 minutes I experienced every emotion going.
Favourite football kit?!
I would have to say the current ‘Barcelona’ home kit because the little fella hasn’t had it off since we bought it for him.
Who is the most impressive individual you’ve played against this season?
I’m not too sure about individually but collectively I have been very impressed with Rhyl this season, every time we have played them I thought they have equipped themselves very well and given it a good go against us.
What about overall? Who are the most impressive players you’ve come up against during your time at the club?
I would have to refer back to the Liverpool Games in Europe; during both games Steven Gerrard was unbelievable.
He ended up scoring 5 of Liverpool’s 6 goals and everything he did seemed so effortless – it probably was.
Also when playing Manchester City in 2003, I came up against a young, big, strong and quick Sylvain Distin who impressed me, hence me not getting a kick all game!
I was also lucky enough to play against Chelsea in my early years at TNS where Gianfranco Zola made a cameo for 30 minutes; he scored a hat-trick and completely ran the show.
Who is your all time football hero?
I have a few – a goal scoring hero of mine growing up was Ian Rush, I was forever watching videos of him. He was just a natural out and out goal scorer, a predator in the box.
Then there was Zinedine Zidane who brought something different to the game that I hadn’t seen before; a player that could glide past people with the ball under his spell – plus the vision he had would take some beating… Enter Mr Lionel Messi……..enough said!
What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in football or sports?!
I’ve always expressed an interest in the fire service, so I probably would have tried to go down that route.
Either that, or perhaps pursued a career in teaching or coaching of some kind. That said, this is still a goal of mine and something that I’m trying to put in place for when my playing time comes to an end.
Finally, any TNS dressing room secrets?!
Not a lot of people know that Mike Harris often doubles up on match days as our mascot – Spot the Dog to try save a bit of money.
There are many more TNS secrets but when we sign for the club, we are sworn to secrecy.
All I will say is the majority of secrets involve Chris Marriott…..