After returning in the summer of 2019 for a second stint at The Brewery Field, club legend Gavin Cogdon talked about life back at Spennymoor.
August 2017. Spennymoor are about to embark on their first ever season in the National League North, the highest level in the club’s history, as the squad go through the media formalities and final preparations. But that’s not all that’s happening on a sun-drenched evening at The Brewery Field. The ‘Legends Wall’, the work of club sponsor’s Aztec Colour Print, is being unveiled. As the name suggests, it’s a place where only the very best is portrayed. The likes of Stephen Capper, Keith Graydon, Anthony Peacock and Lewis Dodds, all pivotal members of the 2013 Vase winning squad, are proudly emblazed. But one of those on the wall will now need to be updated. After Gavin Cogdon’s four goals in the Durham Challenge Cup, his good friend Lee Redford from Aztec will soon have another job on his hands.
A prolific goal scorer and all-round terroriser of defenders for a number of years at The Brewery Field, every Moors fan knows about Cogdon. Nicknamed ‘Titch’, the striker is looking to add to his 132 goals in 289 appearances between 2009 and 2016. As well as scoring an iconic goal in Moors’ FA Vase success in 2013, he also won the Northern League First Division, JR Cleator Cup, Durham Challenge Cup and Northern League Cup. If that wasn’t enough, he also struck the opener as Spennymoor beat Northwich Victoria 2-0 in the 2016 Evo-Stik North Division One Play-Off Final.
The striker left Moors and joined South Shields in the summer of 2016, helping the club to five trophies, including the Vase in 2017. But he has always had one eye on The Brewery Field. “I have loved being back at Spennymoor. I have kept up to speed with the club and what’s been happening during my time away. I am aware of the changes that have happened during the time I was with South Shields, ranging from the top to the stuff going on behind the scenes. This is a club which continues to keep moving forward and I fully expect that to be the case in the future.”
Competition in the forward places has never been as hotly contested at the club. With Glen Taylor, Adam Boyes and James Roberts also vying for minutes, Cogdon is fully aware of the need to be patient: “I didn’t set myself any expectations when I joined in the summer. I followed the club last season and it was amazing to see them get that far, and I want to replicate that this year. I feel I have a big part to play whether that is from the starting line-up or from the bench. Of course, the early part of the season has been a bit frustrating, but I am well aware that it’s a long season and as long as we are winning games I can’t really complain. The biggest frustration is that we haven’t been good enough on the pitch so far, and I want to play a big part in improving us.”
The 36-year-old had a chance to impress last week as Moors played host to Darlington Town in the Durham Challenge Cup Preliminary Round. Cogdon was one of four first team players selected for the squad along with Joe Atkinson, Nathan Buddle and Jake Hibbs, and it proved to be a valuable evening for the forward: “I really enjoyed the Durham Challenge Cup game and the experience on the night as a whole. I was playing in a very young team and it gave me a realisation of my age. I’ve never felt old in that sense as I have always felt fit and healthy. It was great seeing some of the younger lads play and I was surprised that some of them were just 16. I thought Reece Nicholson and Charlie Bridson were the two standout performers on the night, but everyone played their part.”
Cogdon was the star of the show, scoring four times and causing chaos against the Wearside league outfit. After two close range efforts in an eventful first half, Cogdon showcased his magic with a superb third before an audacious lob from just inside the opposition half. His quick thinking was so speedy, it was almost missed by our cameras: “My fourth goal? That kind of speaks for itself as the cameraman missed it!”
Having spent time in a dressing room with some big characters in his first spell, perhaps too many to name, team spirit is something that is imperative to a good squad in the striker’s eyes. Luckily for Cogdon, that ethos is shared by all of his current teammates: “The spirit in the dressing room is unreal and is very similar to the last time I was here, and that is what I like. You have to be a big character here and that is one thing that I think is important. It’s actually something I am working on with my son. If you can survive the Spennymoor dressing room, you can survive anything in life to be honest! I absolutely love it and I hope it continues.”
Moors host Kidderminster Harriers today with the chance to move within one point of their opponents and start climbing the table. The points return and current league position may not be easy on the eye at the present time, Cogdon is confident that the team can turn it round: “Being brutally honest, it’s not been good enough, and I think everyone would say that. It’s a strange thing to say really as I have never been this low at this point of the season in regard to league position. But the National League North is a funny league. You just have to look at what happened last year and in the previous years and where a team is at this stage of the season and where they can end up.
“I know that moving forward we have the quality to start winning games, and it only takes a short space of time for that to flip on its head and change. That’s the mindset that we need to have. We are still in the FA Cup, but we need to be setting our sights on our targets from the start of the season, and that is to finish as high as possible. A play-off spot is a minimum as that was achieved last season, and as much as the early stages have been disappointing, we should still be aiming to climb the league and stay there.”