Five Minutes of Your Time, Please is a series of interviews with people from different areas and eras within the game. This one features Robin Tucker, former Wealdstone centre-half and captain, still plying his trade in the lower leagues.
Robin, there are now a whole new generation of Stones fans that never saw you play for the club. How would you introduce yourself to them? What’s the day job?
Surely I’d be introduced as the savior of the Stones!
My goal away at Salisbury and also away at Hampton? [They were the last two we scored in that season I think!] both helping to keep us up on goals scored!
For my day job I work for a waste management company in Milton Keynes [FCC Environment] where I oversee the management of landfill sites, recycling centers etc…
What was the career path that lead you to Wealdstone, and where have you been involved since?
The season before I joined I had played in the United Counties League premier Division for Ford Sports Daventry. We won the league but didn’t go up, so a lot of players parted company to look for clubs at a better level.
I had been pre-season training with Thame but Andy Sinnot hadn’t been overly interested so I had a friendly game for Arlesey against the Stones. I knew Paul Lamb from when we had played for Buckingham Town in the old Southern League so we spoke afterwards. I told him what was happening and he got me over to the Stones – it all started from there.
Shortly afterwards, Gordon also signed Joycey (Tony Joyce) so I had a travelling partner from Milton Keynes for that season.
After leaving the Stones I went back into the UCL with Buckingham Town and Newport Pagnall Town, and then Ampthill in the South Midlands League.
Do you remember your first game for the Stones (Aug 19 2000 v Whyteleafe (h) L 1-2?
I do remember this but for some reason I thought this was an away game and not at home! I think they had an experienced bald headed centre forward who scored a header from a corner that I may have been at fault for (or not…)!
Twelve years on and now 36, how many years are left in the tank? What do you think will be the deciding factor when you hang up your boots?
I am still playing in the South Midlands Division Two for Mursley United and this is my third season with them. We were fourth last year and we’re fourth again at the moment.
I have been playing quite well and managing to stay relatively injury free and its only ten minutes from my house with a park by the ground for the kids to watch and there isn’t too much travelling to away games either!
To be playing regularly still on a Saturday and being involved in the banter with your team mates is still worth it. As long as the missus let’s me I’ll keep trying to play. Eventually I’m sure I’ll end up in Sunday morning Vets football.
When I’m losing my fair share of challenges and battles on the pitch is when I think I’d look at giving up – as long as I can still walk off feeling I have played half decent and got the better of the centre forward I’ll try and carry on. At the minute I’m still doing ok having dropped down quite a few levels and the experience picked up over the years does help me get through games.
Everyone who knows you will know the workrate, the smile and the odd goal here and there – but how would you describe Robin Tucker the Footballer in one sentence?
I would describe myself as a 100% committed player who liked to compete and win a header now and then [and obviously more skillful and accurate at passing than other people thought – especially Leo!]
Are you seen as one of those senior, experienced players (that Managers always look for) in your current side?
Yes definitely although it comes with plenty of old, fat and bald jokes.
You obviously gain experience with age but also from having played at a higher standard. You pick up things that players don’t get taught or learn at lower levels. It’s actually good to be able try and pass that knowledge and experience on to other mainly younger players.
Whatever happens, when you look back, you’ll have some great memories as a player but is Management or Coaching something that interests you?
I do have good memories. Promotion through the play-offs at Dulwich was a great night and I enjoyed the Trophy run we had when we beat Thurrock on the Friday night at Edgware, what a great atmosphere – believe me that really spurred the players on that night.
Wealdstone was also a decent bunch of lads and management at the time and we all had a good laugh as well as the good relationship with the fans.
In the future? I’m not sure I would want to manage a team but I may consider coaching to pass on some more of that experience…
Why not Management?
I wouldn’t want all of the hassle as a Manager trying to organise players and make sure they al turn up – that sort of thing.
Coaching would be a bit different as you can look to pass on knowledge and ideas and help to develop players. The art of shanking has been lost in the modern game!
I’ll grant you three wishes:
One; You can change something about yourself and your game.
Be less injury prone and a bit more confident
Two; You can change one thing that happened in your career.
I had a long term foot injury at Wealdstone at a time when I was Captain, playing pretty well and having a good run of games.
Although I was involved still with the squad it was a shame to miss out on playing in some of the matches, otherwise I have no real complaints and I have enjoyed my career.
Oh yes, and that goal… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpKmmHUXMMQ about 4:18 in. The best bit about that clip is the fans throwing a bin at the ref afterwards!
Three; You can change one rule to improve the game as a whole.
I’d like a bit more leniency on yellow cards for a decent tackle. It’s a shame you can’t get stuck in and have a good old battle any more.
And I’m not sure about the new rules for the same colour tape over socks now either! Surely there are better things for the Referee to concentrate on?
Do you look around at some of the younger players in your side or as opponents and think that they could be one to watch? What sort of thing makes them stand out? Anyone we should know about?
We have a few promising young players at Mursley who definitely have the ability to step up. One lad called Liam Gallagher [honestly!] played really well in the centre of midfield – very confident and skillful on the ball!
There’s also a defender called Jack Westbrook who looks like he has most attributes to play centre back or right back and he also plays a holding midfield role. I’m sure my manager will love me for giving the game away!
There are also some players who have potential but don’t bloody listen and frustrate the hell out of me Richard Jolly for example! Hi Jolls.
Finally, do you pay much attention to the Professional game? Would you change anything about it?
I do – I still support Everton I’d like us to get a decent owner with a shed load of money and see if we can compete!
Otherwise I wouldn’t change much!