Category: Programme Interviews

The Big Interview: Gavin Cogdon

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.”

“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.”

Gavin Cogdon

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.”

The Big Interview: Jason Kennedy

After joining on loan from Hartlepool United in late January, Jason Kennedy outlined his targets and reflected on his career to date.

Jason Kennedy is the definition of a pro. Well-travelled, committed, hardworking and experienced, the midfielder has forged a career which saw him reach the heights of the Premier League in his early years as a player. Born in Stockton, Kennedy began at Middlesbrough’s academy in the early noughties, training at Rockliffe Hall three times a week as he aimed to make the grade. The hard work eventually paid off in when he made his first team bow against Fulham in the 2004/05 season.

It was Tuesday 19th April 2005 on a mild night at The Riverside Stadium. Kennedy began on the bench, perhaps unsurprising when looking at the squad that night: Brad Jones, Colin Cooper, Gareth Southgate, Ugo Ehiogu, Frank Queudrue, Ray Parlour, George Boateng, Bolo Zenden, Stewart Downing, Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, Szilard Nemeth. Current Moors coach Stuart Parnaby. Fulham boasted star names such as Edwin Van Der Sar, Luis Boa Morte and Brian McBride. With The Cottagers leading 1-0 courtesy of McBride’s strike, Kennedy replaced Cooper with four minutes of normal time remaining and filled in at an unfamiliar right back role as Boro chased an equaliser.

That elusive goal came as the match entered additional time, with Zenden netting a penalty after Hasselbaink was fouled in the area. Kennedy remembers that time of his career well: “I was a Middlesbrough fan as a youngster, so it was always a dream to develop through the ranks at the academy and make my debut for the first team. I still remember coming on against Fulham. I came on at right back which was a position I was completely unfamiliar with and was up against Boa Morte…he was quick! It was an amazing feeling as it was something I had worked hard for.”

Kennedy went on to make four first team Premier League appearances before going on to make a name for himself as a loyal, reliable pro and a fine player in the lower leagues. His first stop was Darlington where he made more than 50 appearances, experiencing heartbreak in the play-off semi-final against future employers Rochdale after missing a crucial penalty in a tense shootout in April 2010. His goal in the first leg, coupled with consistent and dominant performances for The Quakers, saw him swooped up by Dale the following campaign.

He went on to play almost 200 times for Rochdale, a time he recollects upon fondly: “I got promoted in my first season at Rochdale into League One, and we adapted really well to a higher division. We actually went on to achieve the club’s highest ever finish at that stage. We finished on around 70 points and in 9th, a great achievement and it was something special to be a part of. Sadly, we got relegated the year after, but I loved my time there. The manager at the time, Keith Hill, really knew how to get the best out of me, and I think all the lads who played in that team went on to bigger and better things in the future.”

“The aim is to enjoy football at this stage of my career.”

Jason Kennedy

After leaving Rochdale his next destination was Bradford City, where he was part of the match day squad that famously came from 2-0 down to beat Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Kennedy made 37 appearances for Bradford before joining Carlisle on a permanent deal following a successful loan stint, making over 100 appearances for The Cumbrians and scoring 15 times, the same amount he netted for Rochdale. But injury trouble was on the immediate horizon for Kennedy.

Speaking to Dom Shaw at The Gazette in July 2019 after signing a deal at National League side Hartlepool, Kennedy opened up about his injury hell: “”I saw five specialists, I was going from doctor to doctor, they hadn’t diagnosed me and I’m starting to think, ‘am I imagining this? Obviously, I wasn’t because I couldn’t get out of bed on a morning and walk, never mind think about training. I woke up every day literally thinking how I am going to get through the day because I couldn’t get out of bed on my own, I used to have to use a support to get out of bed.

“You start to question yourself. I thought that was it, I thought I’d have to retire. I’d been constantly doing as much rehab as I could, but it just wasn’t improving. I got to the stage where I felt like giving up because nothing was working. I love football and I wanted to play for as long as I could. But you know what, it wasn’t even because of football. It was because I couldn’t even go out and play passies with my son. He’d come home from school and ask if we could go to the park and I couldn’t. It was so hard. My main goal was to be fit and healthy enough to play with my child and do what dads do with their kids.”

Having returned to full fitness and recovered from his injury nightmares, Kennedy is now looking ahead to his time at Spennymoor. “I enjoy working hard for the team and getting on the ball. I have recently discovered that I have a good trait of being in the right place at the right time to score a few tap-ins! I’ll always give 100% for the cause no matter what shirt I am wearing. Hopefully I can get a few goals along the way too, but the main aim during my time here at Spennymoor is play games and get some minutes under my belt.

“The whole move came around quickly on the Friday before the Gloucester game. I was thrust into things when I was heading down to Gloucester on the night for the overnight stay, but it was nice to meet everyone and get some minutes. After spending time out injured, the aim is to enjoy football at this stage of my career. Ideally that would be playing week in week out, but I know I will have to work to achieve that.”

The Big Interview: Tyler Forbes

After becoming a Spennymoor player in Januay, attacking full-back Tyler Forbes outlined his ambitions for his time at The Brewery Field and reflected on his career to date.

It’s a wind-swept Tuesday evening at Bede Sixth Form Centre in Billingham, Moors’ training base on Tuesday and Thursday as preparations for Kettering begin. Tommy Miller arrives early, going through a rigorous routine in the gym upstairs before his coaching commitments take over. Miller then makes his way to the entrance as the players begin to arrive, closely followed by manager Jason Ainsley. Both remain in the reception area ready for the arrival of their new signing, Tyler Forbes, brought in from National League side AFC Fylde. Forbes receives a warm welcome from the management team before sitting down with Moors TV for his first interview with the club.

“I’ve done these before, but I’m not a fan of them.” Forbes echoes the majority of players in their dislike of fronting up the camera lens, but, with a slaloming career at the tender age of 23, he has plenty to say. Originally a right winger in his younger years, Forbes now applies his trade a right-back, still occupying the attacking traits which were a big part of his game in his early years. He began his professional career at Fleetwood, where he spent two seasons after coming through Preston’s academy, featuring for The Fishermen at League One level. “It seems like a long time ago now, but it was enjoyable time in my career to play with that calibre of player at that level of the game. It’s now about getting back that consistency of playing games week in week out, and hopefully that can be the case here at Spennymoor Town.

I was a right winger from the age of six all the way to 18, but then I went to Fleetwood where Graham Alexander was in charge, and he played a diamond in midfield. Obviously, there is no room for wingers using that set-up, so after playing a training game at right back due to Conor Mclaughlin going on international duty, I performed well and have been playing in that position ever since.”

“After speaking with the gaffer I think this could be the perfect move for me at this stage of my career.”

Tyler Forbes

By the end of 2014, the defender had received his senior debut against Yeovil Town and went on to make 17 appearances by the end of the campaign. After signing a new contract with the club, Tyler netted his first goal in his first game of the 2015/16 season in a 4-3 win over Bury. With 38 career senior appearances under his belt, the versatile player was signed by then Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion on a two-year deal. Forbes always knew it would tough to break into a second tier first team after joining the Seagulls for a six-figure fee: “In a way it was frustrating to not get a chance at the first team at Brighton, but I am sure everyone is aware how difficult it is to make that step and get that opportunity. I am young and ambitious, and the goal is to try and break into the first team of a club at that level. But for now, I am ready to take my chance here and start playing games. That’s the big thing for me at present.”

Tyler went into the Seagulls’ Development Squad, playing 15 matches before moving on loan to Accrington Stanley the following summer. Following a five-month spell with Stanley, the right wing-back signed for Newport County in the summer of 2018. He made 20 appearances for the Welsh side before joined Salford City on loan. He was most recently on the books of AFC Fylde, joining The Coasters in September 2019.

After several moves across the country in a short space of time, Forbes feels like Moors could be the perfect place for him to settle and get a run of games: “After speaking with the gaffer I think this could be the perfect move for me at this stage of my career. I need a run of games under my belt. If I do well in training, conduct myself right and approach everything with 100% effort, then I will get my opportunity to show what I can do. Jason hasn’t spoken to me about my specific role and how he intends to use me yet. We will have a conversation about that at a later date, but at the moment he wants me to come in and embed myself in the dressing room, meet the lads and get to know the club. Hopefully we can go one better than last season.”

The Big Interview: Dale Eve

Spennymoor’s new goalkeeper guides us through his roots in Bermuda, his eagerness to settle with Moors and receiving praise from Shaun Goater.

In 2019, Bermuda made history by making their first ever appearance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the confederation’s premier event for national teams, crowning a champion every two years. Initially involving eight teams, the Gold Cup has developed into a competition of 12 nations, which qualify from each of CONCACAF’s three sub-regions: North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and has reached exceptional levels of popularity as evidenced by capacity crowds and a global TV audience of millions. As well as being a ground-breaking moment for football in Bermuda, it was also a huge summer for Dale Eve, Moors’ new goalkeeper, who joined the club before the 3-2 win over Altrincham.

Eve, now 25, has played for ten clubs in England after being spotted as a youngster playing in his homeland for The Dandy Down Hornets F.C. He has had his fair share of highs and lows, peaking with impressive performances against Haiti, Costa Rica and Nicaragua at the previously mentioned Gold Cup last year. However, he had to battle back from the low of being released from Stoke City after a spell of fruitless loan spells in the lower realms of the English football pyramid, ultimately concluding with him relocating back to Bermuda for two years. After returning to England at the end of 2019 in search of a final chance to impress with a club, Eve was suddenly in the right place at the right time.

“When things didn’t go right after lots of trials going from club to club to club, it was a case of wondering where I was going to go next. Hartlepool came into the picture at one point, but nothing came of that situation. I connected with John Willow who has helped two Bermudian players sign for Darlington (Osagi Bascome and Justin Donawa) and is looking to help out Bermudian national players to get clubs and play professionally in the UK. John must have had some knowledge that Spennymoor were on the lookout for a goalkeeper, so sometimes it’s just about luck in life. My agent has been working day in, day out to try and get me settled somewhere, get some games and get going as a footballer again.

“It’s been two and a half years since I have played in England. At this stage of my career it’s now about finding a club to settle at and get some consistency. After spending time at Robin Hood in Bermuda we wanted to come back last December and give it another go. This was the last chance and it was time to build my profile again. Luckily Spennymoor came in!”

“It was a bit cold, but it was great to be back in a match situation.”

Dale Eve

Eve has played in the Bermudian Premier Divison for two clubs based in his home parish of Pembroke, the highest level of football in Bermuda. After spending his younger years at Dandy Town Hornets, he joined Robin Hood in 2017 upon his return to the country. After moving to England to join Derby, Eve’s potential had the likes of Manchester City sniffing around, but Stoke City was his next destination: “I’ve been playing football all my life since my days growing up in Bermuda. The standard of football in terms of the league in my country is nowhere near any of the top leagues, however, the individual talent of players is good. You always get two or three who manage to make it, get spotted and have a chance at making it pro, and I was lucky enough to move to the UK when I was just 15. I didn’t even know how the professional game worked over here. It was more of a case of that I enjoyed playing football, I managed to impress and then I signed the contract at Derby County.

“That’s when I actually had to learn about how a professional footballer lived and operated. In all honesty that took me a while to get used to, and I had to go way down the ladder to try and get games and learn more about the game and myself. At one point it was a case of how to get back into the game and get spotted again after my release from Stoke. I struggled for a few years to manage that, but I have got myself and my head right over the last two years. I am now fully focused on my goal and it’s now a case of going for it.”

After confirmation of Eve’s transfer went through hours before the game against Altrincham in early February, social media was alive with praise for the shot stopper, but there was one name in particular which caught the eye. Shaun Goater, the all-time leading scorer for Bermuda and a Manchester City legend, managed Eve for a short period of time at Ilkeston, and was complimentary towards the goalkeeper: “I was at Ilkeston around three years ago right before I went back to Bermuda, and the club brought Goater in to manage the team. He gave me a lot of feedback, insight and what it takes to make it. He looked at what I was not getting right, and his guidance helped me further down the line when I managed to make the squad for the 2019 Gold Cup. That platform allowed me to get game time and recognition as the tournament was broadcast and seen by millions. It was the perfect time to showcase what I was capable of. Everywhere else I had been at was all about how I did in training, but this was a proper game situation where I could show my ability. I did well and played all our group games against Haiti, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and I felt like I marshalled our defence well and gave myself a platform again.”

Tuesday night saw Eve make his full debut for the club in the 4-1 Durham Challenge Cup semi-final win over Stockton Town, but he feels it is just the start of his journey back in England: “It felt good to be back on the pitch in England! It was a bit cold, but it was great to be back in a match situation. I’m obviously still getting used to the lads and how each player will play, but it just felt right to be back playing football here. The aim is to keep the number one shirt for as long as I can and take the club as far as I can.”