Wednesday, 22 April 2015

An Interview with ... Matt Fry

Concord have been defensively resolute this season, and it's no surprise when they have an ex-West Ham, Gillingham, Charlton and Bradford centre back in their ranks.

Matt Fry brings a wealth of experience to the Concord side, but what was his journey to Concord like...let's find out!

What did the 10year old Matt Fry want to be when he was older, was it always a footballer?

To be honest as a 10year old I wanted to be a vet.  I grew up in the countryside and I liked the old land rovers that vets used to drive, haha strange I know!
I was kicking a ball from a young age but I didn't give much thought to my future, I just enjoyed playing.

Do you still have the passion to be a vet, is that something you would look to do in the future?

Haha I think being a vet has definitely passed now.  I love animals but I'm taking all my accounting qualifications at present, so I see myself in a suit rather than overalls.

You joined West Ham at a young age...what did playing for West Ham at the age of 12/13 actually entail? Were there games, or was it just training?

I joined West Ham at 11, and we would train 3 nights a week and play games on Sunday.  Luckily my Dad was around to take me to and from training, and without him I wouldn't have had the opportunities that I did, so I'm very thankful.  Funnily enough Danny Glozier's Dad was one of my coaches at around this age, so I respect Bob a great deal for teaching me a thing or two.

You were managed by Gianfranco Zola, Avram Grant and Sam Allardyce, what were they like in training...did Zola still show you all up with his skills? Did any of the manager's promise to give you first team opportunities?

I only have one word to say about Zola and that is "Unbelievable!"  Naturally he was respected immediately and to this day he remains a stand out manager for me both in coaching and his man management.  It was a real shame he wasn't given the time he deserved because I still think he would have been a great hit!  He really liked me as a player too and most of my first team experiences came with him as manager. It was hinted he would give me my Premier League debut toward the end of the season in 09/10 but unfortunately I suffered knee meniscus damage, and then he was sacked.  He was also still the best player in training, by a long way.  If he was on your 5-a-side team, it was the winning one!!
Avram Grant had an entirely different approach and would just take a back seat, but he authorised my loan move to Charlton so I'm thankful there.  Big Sam I respected also, because he was honest with me to say I wouldn't be in his plans as we had just got relegated and he was signing experienced Premier League players to bounce back immediately.  So this gave me the opportunity to search elsewhere.

You played at Gillingham for 3months, which was curtailed by a knee injury. Was the plan for you to stay longer?

I have great memories of the Gills.  Mainly because it was the team I made my league debut for, and I will never forget that day... MK Dons away in front of 11,000 fans.  I was performing really well for Gills which in turn earned me a new 2 year deal at West Ham, and it was also rumoured that Championship clubs were keeping an eye on me.  I played in every game while I was on loan, bar one due to suspension.  Unfortunately the knee injury had me under the knife on New Year's Eve.  The plan was to stay longer but when I recovered 6 weeks later I had Charlton on the phone and I saw this as a big step.

You had a great spell at Charlton, what was that season like?

I loved every day I was a Charlton player! I made some great pals and also experienced the best moments of my football career so far.  Most notably the FA Cup 3rd round against Spurs at White Hart Lane in front of 36,000 fans.  At the Valley we used to average 18,000-20,000 fans, it's a massive club and I felt extremely proud to put the shirt on each week.  I have all my shirts framed at home, and also kept a lot of the programmes and memorabilia which I occasionally look back over.  I had a good relationship with the fans mainly due to my attitude and work ethic, I always gave 100% as that's what the club deserved.  Again I'm glad to see them doing well in the Championship and hopefully it's not long before they're back in the big time.

Phil Parkinson has taken you on loan twice now, once at Charlton and then at Bradford...has he been on the phone recently?

Haha! I was actually signed permanently by Parkie at Bradford, but yeah it's no secret we got on well and I feel he got the best out of me.  I have a huge amount of respect for him and I'm very glad to see him doing well, we have kept in touch and I've congratulated him on his success over the past couple of years.

What are your main attributes in your game? What are your strengths? Also what can you improve on?

I think I read the game very well.  I've also always been a sprinter so I've got the pace there too.  I was always a lot bigger than other kids growing up, so I wasn't as technical as the smaller players and this was something I had to work on as I got older.  I've always loved getting on the ball and playing out of defence, however I've done this a lot less as it's difficult on the majority of pitches.

I see you work for Elastic Artists, are you interested in music?

Yeah I love music, I always have! A lot of the artists we represent are electronic dj's, so are not very well known to people outside the industry.

So what kind of music do you like?

I loved garage as a kid, and we represent Matt Jam Lamont who is an old school garage name.  We used to represent JME and Skepta as well.  I'm sure a few people will have heard of them.

Maybe I'm showing my age, I've never heard of them! haha...Do you go to music concerts?

I do, but I haven't been in a while, the last concert I went to was Drake at the o2 which was last year sometime.  One of our artists is playing in Ibiza this summer, so the work guys are talking about heading out their for a few days for one of the festivals.

What else do you like doing in your spare time? Are you a golfer? Did you watch the Masters?

Yeah like most footballers I am well into my golf.  I love playing whenever I can, but now I work and play it's hard to find the time.  I did watch the Masters and I had money riding on Jordan Spieth, who I'm really enjoying watching at the moment, his putter is on fire!

Come on then, how much did you win on Spieth??

I don't bet big anymore...but I won £100 so that was a nice return.

Whoever I speak to in the Concord side, they always comment on the spirit of the club.  Is that spirit unique to Concord, or have you found that in other sides you've played for?

I think what we have this season is definitely unique to Concord.  It's built up from relationships bonded over years and we have a great group of players managed by a great group of people.  I have been involved in a lot of dressing rooms and it's rare to find one where every single team member get along, and we all play as mates which makes winning so much better.

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