As part of Just4Keepers CIs strive to promote goalkeeping in the Channel Islands, we are spending 5 mins with various goalkeepers – past & present, to give us there thoughts on all things goalkeeping. We hope you enjoy and should you wish to be part of this Q&A email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month we hear from John Medcalf– goalkeeper & outfield coach and father of Jersey junior goalkeeper – Dan Medcalf.
1. How old were you when you started playing in goal and what was your first team?
I was 10 years old and played for a team in Upminster called Barn Sports. They celebrated their 40th anniversary last year!
2. At what age did you first receive specialist GK coaching? And do you believe this is important for young goalkeepers?
I was 11 years old and went to a Goalkeeper School in Manchester. The professional goalkeepers were Gary Bailey and Dai Davies although I have to say neither were particular heroes of mine. Specialist Goalkeeper training for those who want to take it seriously is a no-brainer. So many different aspects of the game that it’s vital to improve the strengths of your game and even harder on the weaker parts of your game. Never ever seen the ‘perfect’ goalkeeper who never makes a mistake!
3. What teams have you played for during your career?
In the UK the ones that stand out were Barn Sports where it all started, all the school teams that I went to, the London Borough of Havering school team where Nicky Hammond was first choice (he went on to play for Swindon Town, Plymouth Argyle and Reading before becoming Director of Football at WBA) and Essex U18 Schoolboys. The best team I played for though in either UK or Jersey was Redbridge United from the age of 16 until I came to Jersey. Full of players who were on the books at professional clubs and were all good lads with some still remaining friends today after 30 years.
In Jersey there was Rozel Rovers, St John and St Lawrence and when Sunday football was played I turned out for one season for Everton Supporters Club!
4. Who was your favourite GK growing up and why?
Ray Clemence when I was very young as he made it look so easy. As a West Ham fan I can’t ignore Phil Parkes who was a model of consistency and Ludek Miklosko – one of the pioneers for foreign goalkeepers in the UK. I’ve been very lucky to have met all 3.
5. What is your most memorable moment from your career?
Tough one but playing in a County tournament for Essex in Skegness. 1 week, 5 games and many excellent players across all teams and we got through to the semi finals. Still have the programme somewhere.
6. What advice would you offer to any young GKs from the Channel Islands?
Because of the limited amount of games you’ll get in Jersey compared to the UK it’s important that you firstly enjoy your football; work hard but have fun in training; accept mistakes will happen but always remember the 3 Bs – Be Big; Be Brave and Be the Boss!