Welling United stars living the dream
PUBLISHED: 17:39 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 17:50 21 February 2013
Welling United players tell Robin Cottle how they manage juggling their day jobs with careers in semi-professional football.
Goalkeeper Sam Mott, 24, lives in Orpington and signed from Thamesmead Town last summer. He works as a locksmith in Borough, near London Bridge, and recently got called up to the England ‘C’ team for non-league players.
I tend to work pretty long days during the week - 8.30am until 5.30pm generally, and with training and matches on top of that it can become quite tiring.
I’m usually up by 6am and if we have training or an evening match I often won’t be home by 11pm but we all love playing football so it’s not much of a sacrifice.
Getting called up for the England ‘C’ team was a great experience. I didn’t play but got treated like a pro for a day.
As a group we haven’t got a big squad but we have a great team spirit. Jamie Day is an excellent manager and has made us all feel wanted.
For me personally moving from Thamesmead was stepping up two levels so that was quite daunting but I’m pleased with how I’ve performed.
I’m concentrating on getting promoted with Welling. If we go up to the Conference I don’t know what that would mean for some of the lads and their working schedules.
Thankfully work are brilliant. I work for G.Worrall & Son’s locksmiths and it’s my uncle’s business. He is really supportive around my football and lets me leave early when I need to for midweek games.
That really helps with the juggling!
Right wing-back Loui Fazakerley, 28, joined Welling in 2008. He is a personal trainer living in Hackney.
I work as a personal trainer in Holborn but I’ve also set up Total Football Performance, which holds summer camps every year for footballers who want to keep up their fitness and form in the off-season.
With Welling training and games thrown in, it keeps me very busy.
I set it up with Matt McEntergart, who also used to play for Welling.
One of our highest profile clients has been Mansfield striker Matt Green, who scored against Liverpool in the FA Cup last month.
Getting in extra training isn’t a problem - it goes pretty well with my job as opposed to someone working in an office environment.
Do I get a get a big pay packet? I don’t want to disclose how much I get paid to play for Welling but it’s certainly not enough!
I had two years at Fulham as a teenager but unfortunately never made the first team.
Ever since Jamie Day came in as player-manager at Welling, there has been progression. Everyone wants to play for him and I’m no different.
I’ve been here for the hard financial times and we owe a massive debt of gratitude to the fans being where we are now - we wouldn’t be without their input.
A lot of thanks must go to them and we’re repaying them at the moment.
It’s still an ambition to play league football, I haven’t given up yet. I’ve never won the championship and have always been in this division so want to concentrate on getting promoted with Welling - then we’ll have a big party.
Striker Ross Lafayette: 27, lives in Brixton and signed from Hemel Hempstead last summer. He works for the The Independent and Evening Standard as a digital account manager.
We train twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday evenings. We play every Saturday and a lot of Tuesdays so working full-time, and having a girlfriend, it can be hard to fit everything in. All three are big priorities for me.
I’m not much of a drinker and I adhere to quite a strict diet. Saturday evenings are when I let my hair down.
This isn’t something Welling imposes on us as the management aren’t with us 24-seven but if we aren’t disciplined that will show in our performances - the difference in fitness levels in the Conference South are massive.
I set myself a target of 25 goals this season - I’m only 10 away with almost 20 games left. You have to aim high, that’s the only way you achieve anything.
There’s great team spirit and a lot of the players have been there many years.
Everyone pulls together in the right direction and I think that’s reflected in the results.
I trained at Total Football Performance this summer, which is run by Loui Fazakerley, and he invited me down to Welling for a trial.
I spoke to Jamie Day a few times and liked what I heard so I signed up.
Having never played at this level before, the step up has been noticeable. But playing with better players like Joe Healy and Lee Clarke gives you more time on the ball.
I would love to play league football and I’ll never give up that dream. But the conditions have to be right - I’ve got a great job at the moment and a lot on my plate.