The final home game of the year brings with it the last programme of 2018, here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect from this Saturday’s edition of We Are FGR.
Big interview: Carl Winchester
Carl Winchester, at the age of 25, is a midfielder walking into the prime of his career but his years don’t truly reflect how much the Northern Irishman has already been through in his career.
Growing up playing football with his brother and friends for local side Willowbank was his first taste of the beautiful game before joining Linfield, a time of real enjoyment as he played along many of his friends.
However, it was at 16 where he was forced to grow up quicker than most at his age. While many fresh out of their GCSEs were preparing for college, or maybe stepping into work for the first time, Carl was packing his suitcase to head to a small town in Greater Manchester that few who didn’t follow football would have heard of.
A scout had spotted him at Linfield and offered him the chance to head over the water to try and turn it into a career with a trial with Oldham Athletic.
“It was really hard because I was just a kid at 16 just leaving school and having to go across to England, it was a big move for me,” he explained.
“I struggled with homesickness for the first year. You are in a different country and sitting in digs while your friends are doing what you were doing back home and out enjoying themselves but these are the sacrifices you need to make.
“You do grow up a lot in the first year and I realised just how hard it is moving away because you do miss your family and friends but you are making sacrifices for your career and thankfully I am still in England now playing.”
Read the full interview exclusively in tomorrow’s programme.
Ambassador Q&A: Theo Archibald
QUESTION 1: Who was your football idol when you were younger?
Christiano Ronaldo. My dad hand painted a Man United shirt on a red polo for me so I’ve always followed them for as long as I can remember and then Ronaldo joined when I was four or five I’ve just loved him ever since.
QUESTION 2: What age were you when you started playing?
I was four years old when I first played football and my initial youth team Park Villa who were a little team from Govan in Glasgow which Sir Alex Ferguson set up. That meant we got to go on trips to Old Trafford as well and we met Ronaldo, Tevez and Rooney.
Academy in focus: Dan Jones
Despite an offer from Southampton to extend his eight-year stay with the academy, 16-year-old winger Dan Jones chose to join Forest Green Rovers when the opportunity arose last summer.
The positive feel of the club and the draw of a League Two side that played attractive football were both appealing, and upon joining FGR, Jones’ opportunity to play with the first-team came sooner than expected.
Making more than one appearance during the 2018/19 pre-season saw Jones gain some valuable experience, experience that helped him earn a call-up to the Wales U17 squad for the Telki Cup in August, a proud moment for the club.
To have international experience under his belt at such a young age is highly beneficial for any player, although the winger admitted that it was a bit of a wake-up call to the high standard that must be maintained.
How to get your programme:
Official Forest Green Rovers programmes will be available for sale at £3 from our volunteer sellers around The New Lawn.
It can be purchased at the ground on matchdays and online via the Forest Green Rovers club shop HERE or at ProgrammeMaster HERE, with pre-orders accepted in advance. Subscriptions for the season are being taken now.