We’re back at The New Lawn tomorrow and that means another in our series of the ‘WeAreFGR’ matchday programmes.
Here is a look inside this weeks’ edition for our match with Carlisle United:
Big Interview: Junior Mondal
“I think the key message is to never give up.”
“It’s all I have gone by because I was so close to giving up and if I did give up, I wouldn’t be in this position that I am in now.
“If you believe in yourself then you can achieve what you want to achieve in the game.”
For Junior Mondal, his story is a similar one to many that fill the changing rooms up and down the country.
A young talent who was picked up at an early age by one of the country’s multitude of academies in the hope of moulding him into the next big star but being told after a serious injury that it wasn’t going to pan out the way it had in his dreams.
For some, it ends there, they move away from football and enjoy a successful career elsewhere, for others, they drop down the levels to seek regular playing time and rediscover their love for the game and for a rare few, they work their way back to rekindle those dreams again.
Junior was aged eight when he was first stumbled upon, playing keepy-uppys on the touchlines of a local game in Middlesbrough that his older brother was playing in at the time.
It soon snowballed and a self-confessed ‘ball greedy’ striker was soon becoming top scorer in the Teesside Junior Football Alliance League for South Park Rangers, moving up through the levels quickly with Boro Rangers and then Marton FC, where he was picked up by local side Middlesbrough.
“I had other teams like Manchester United watching me apparently but I was young and I didn’t know much about it so, I just went straight to Middlesbrough because it was a dream to be playing for your local club,” he said.
Mondal excelled at the Riverside, getting superb reports from the coaches and was highly rated as an exciting prospect to be coming through the age groups.
But, as so often seems to be the case, there was a curveball coming and what seemed like an innocuous training ground injury soon saw him heading in a different direction.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THE PROGRAMME.
Ambassador Q&A: Liam Shephard
QUESTION 1: Is it irritating when fans of the other team are booing you?
No, I really like it to be honest. I like the boos because they make me feel better.
QUESTION 2: Are you disappointed when you lose?
Yeah of course, we’re all winners at the end of the day and we want to get as far as we can and get to the top of the league.
Academy in focus: Elias Youssef
Central midfielder Elias Youssef joined Forest Green Rovers after a successful trial at the end of pre-season last year. He had previously been at Cardiff for two years before spending a short period on trial at Cheltenham Town.
Youssef describes himself as a box-to-box midfielder and displays energetic traits and a great range of passing. The midfielder also enjoys showing his ball-winning ability and driving forward to support his teammates in attack.
Despite his desire to get forward, Youssef doesn’t tend to set himself numerical targets for goals and assists but rather aims to build on whatever he achieved in the previous season.
The Forest Green Rovers Academy has been offering a number of fantastic opportunities for the scholars’ development of late, and alongside earning his Level Two coaching badge, Youssef has spent some time on a work-experience loan at Royal Wootton Bassett Town.
Getting to know…Christian Doidge
FAVOURITE PRE-GAME SONG?
I would have to say that it’s Adele, Hometown Glory. I’ve loved that song for ages and I’ve scored a few goals when I’ve listened to it before a game, so it’s just become a routine.
WHAT ARE YOU READING?
I don’t really read if I’m honest. I listen to podcasts, so I like all the Joe Rogan stuff and the car school I’m in usually has a podcast on in the morning so no, I wouldn’t really say I read.
LAST FILM YOU WATCHED?
Now you’re putting me on the spot. American Assassin. It’s about a guy whose fiancé gets killed on the beach and he gets recruited as an agent, like a 007 kind of thing.
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.