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Lost City

Interview: Steve Scoffham

2 June 05 words: Jared Wilson

We have a chat with Notts County's signing from Gedling Town about how he wants to become a local hero...

It's every bloke's dream! You're working on a building site and ripping up the park every week as a centre forward for your local part-time football team.A scout from the local football club comes knocking and suddenly you've been thrust into the professional game. Football can be a cruel profession. Most of those who were even close will have given up the dream of being a pro by the time reach their late teens. Very few still slip through after not attending football academies and centre's of excellence. Steve Scoffham, however, is one that got away.

A builder by trade and a free scoring striker for Gedling Town at weekends, his form prompted interest from Notts County at a time when the club were looking for affordable solutions to their administration crisis. There was one stumbling block, however. Gedling town required a fee for their most valuable player and Notts County had not spent any money on transfer fees for over two years. Enter the Notts County Supporters Trust who raised the £5000 necessary to keep Gedling Town. This meant that not only did he have the fans on his side, but they also owned a stake in his success. 

All seemed good for Steve as he made his debut and scored fairly frequently until the end of the season. It wasn't enough to save the club from relegation, but he showed enough promise to raise hopes for this season.  He even did backflips to celebrate after scoring... something the club has not seen in a long time - if ever! A pity therefore when a bad tackle on the last day of last season broke his leg and put him out of action for 7 months. We caught up with Steve as he was getting on the way back to recovery...

It must be frustrating for you sitting on the sidelines at Notts...
"It's been very very frustrating. I can't wait to get back and fire some goals in!! They say that the end of the season is the best time to break your leg, but there's no real good time for that! I'm going through my pre-season training at the moment, all on my own, so it's pretty hellish!"

How did it feel back in February when you were signed up by Notts?
"It's a great feeling having the fans pay for you! I guess I can't do much wrong at the moment, but I'm desperate to get back and repay the faith that has been shown in me. It's a dream come true to pull a Notts shirt on and kick a football around for a living. Even despite this injury and our bad results I'm loving life!"

You were brought up in Nottingham I understand?
"Yeah. I've lived in Nottingham for eighteen years, though I was actually born in a place called Munster in Germany. My mum and dad were both in the forces, but they moved here when I was little and I've lived in Nottingham my whole life. I went to Chilwell Comprehensive, but probably wasn't the best student there. I didn't really like going to school. I was a bit of a little toe-rag, but I wasn't malicious. I was just an idiot. If I could have it again though, I'd try a bit harder. I'd definitely still want to do this, but I'd like to have an education to fall back on."

Did you support Notts County before they signed you?
"My dad used to bring me to watch them when I was a kid. The truth is that I've always been a Wolves fan at heart, but Notts was my local club and I always used to go down and watch them as much as I could."

What were you doing before you signed for Notts?
"I was a brickie. I'd been a builder for four years. I came out of school and went straight into an apprenticeship. I live in Attenborough and the building site was in a little village just past Beeston. I knew a couple of the lads that were already working there, so I just did that as a career for a while. I don't want to go back to doing it again at any time soon either, so I've got to work blooming hard when I get back to get a contract for next year!"

Who are your best mates among the Notts County Squad?
"All of them. As a lot of people know, there were only about 16 players left at the end of the season. I'd spent a while getting to know a load of team-mates and they pretty much all just left at once. This new bunch of lads are brilliant! I had my first training session back in a while the other day and it felt great to get back on the pitch! We really do just want to turn it around for the fans!"

Was there any resentment from the senior pro's to this `brickie', who had suddenly found himself in the team.
"It took a few of them a bit longer to accept me so well at first. A lot of them have been pro's all their lives and were looking at me realising that I'd come straight from non -league and predicting that it would be hard for me. It was, but I was ready! It all changed again at the start of the season though."

What's your average day like then?
"I get up at about 7.30am. I still live with my parents so I've got a little sister who wakes up early and gets me up all the time. The rest of my family are usually up by then too as my dad has his own business and my mum always gets up with him. I help to get my little sister ready for school, then have breakfast and then head off to training. I have to be at training for 10am. It usually starts at about half past. Then we usually finish at about 1.30pm. Sometimes we have double days, so we have to go back in the afternoon. After that I go home, play on the Xbox, watch DVD's and meet up with my mates. That's about it really!"

It must keep your feet on the ground still living with your parents...
"Oh yeah, it does! I'm just trying to take one step at a time and not get ahead of myself. As soon as you get complacent then you leave yourself open to it all coming crashing down."

I understand that you were told to stop doing backflips after scoring!
"It was the physio that told me I had to stop it. He's a great physio and it's incredible what he does so I really respect him. He thinks it could damage my back, but then again he's always looking at little things that can damage yourself and it doesn't mean it's going to happen. His viewpoint is that it can't be good for me and that I'll have to stop it, but the fans love it! I might be a little wary when I initially come back, because my leg will still need time to return to full strength. I've got another trick to show off in my locker as well these days tho..."

When did you start doing them?
"It was when I was doing gymnastics at school. I could get some serious height off the springboard. It's a confidence thing more than anything else. If you're not confident when doing it you'll break your neck! I'm not sure if anyone picked up on it, but the first one I did when I scored for Notts against Grimsby I landed on my toes and had to take another step forward or else I would have fallen. I would have looked like a right prat then!"

Who did you pretend to be in the playground when you were a kid?
"It had to be Gary Lineker! His discipline was incredible. To play that many games and to never get booked once is a crazy record! His scoring record was brilliant at every level he played at."

How many goals do you think you can get from when you get back until the end of the season?

"At the beginning of the season I said twenty. I know that a lot of games have gone by while I've been injured, but I still want to get into double figures! If I do that I think I'll probably get a new contract with the club!"

Where do you see the future of Notts County.
"The Club is too good to be in this division, but confidence is low at the moment and it's not going to be easy to get ourselves up the table."

Where do you see the future of Steve Scoffham?
"I want to play for England. It's a long shot, but it would be a proper dream come true! I want to score lots of goals and get us out of this division and eventually pull on a shirt with the three lions on it. You never know..."

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