Former Ashton United star Matty Chadwick turns 27 in a couple of days, hot on the heels of the perhaps slightly more significant milestone of becoming a dad. A change of clubs seems minor in comparison, and easier still when it’s to revive a previously enjoyable stint. That is the current way of it for Oldham lad Chadwick, as the Warrington Town attacker joins Atherton Collieries on loan. In this conversation, the one-time Salford City man has a glance ahead, and a few looks back over his time in football so far…
To start, is joining up with Atherton with a view to leaving Warrington permanently, or very much temporary? Where do you feel you’re at currently?
I’m not really sure, to be honest. It was more that things just didn’t work out at Warrington, for whatever reason, that’s football, but it’s given me a chance to go to Atherton just to play again as much as possible. I’ve known Cleggy (manager Micheal Clegg) for a while, and every time I’ve become available he’s wanted to sign me. I played for him a couple of years ago on loan and I really enjoyed it. So it’s kind of like a ‘best of both worlds,’ good chance to meet up again with someone I enjoyed playing under. It’s a good fit.
On the theme of enjoyment, which teammates/coaches/managers from your time in football stand out so far as the funniest, just as examples?
Well you’ve probably heard of Martin Pilkington. Jordan Hulme at Alty’s a very funny lad. Another lad at Alty, the keeper, Tony Thompson. Chris Baguley, Adam Morning. All really good lads, really good in the dressing room, and just what you need to keep the atmosphere good and keep a team moving in the right direction, for me.
Is there a player you’ve played with, even growing up, whose ability alone deserved (or deserves) to be at a higher level? Someone you’d see get on the ball and be like ‘wow’?
I’m not too sure because I firmly believe you’re at a level for a reason. (Danny) Webber when I was at Salford, he was very good; obviously he’s played at the highest level. Max Harrop at Alty could do some ridiculous stuff. I’d say them two probably had that ‘wow, that’s ridiculous’ kind of factor about them. Chris Baguley, again, at Ashton, was similar; he’d score rockets regularly in training, and in games as well. So I’d say those three for those spontaneous bursts of quality.
Has there been a happiest spell for you in football so far? Ashton is the obvious, so maybe a specific season or time period perhaps.
There was probably two spells. One was the first season I joined Ashton; we got to the (Northern Premier League Premier Division play-off) final, lost out to Fylde, but we had a really good team. Personally, I had a good year and got in the Team of the Year for the NPL, so I’d say that year was good, but then also when we got promoted, obviously, two years ago. I got 20-odd goals, but it also felt I wasn’t a part of it at times, because I hurt my knee around Christmas, so I was struggling to get back. I contributed in parts in the second half of the season; I would have liked to have contributed more, but that was my favourite season, the lads were absolutely top quality. We’d have gone up that season regardless of who was the manager; not taking anything away from Jody (Banim), obviously he’s got to put the team out, but sometimes you’ve just got a feeling with the lads you’ve got in the team, and we definitely had that.
Has there been a harder or more frustrating time?
Not really, football’s more of an enjoyment factor for me, and I wouldn’t do it if that wasn’t the case. Obviously you wanna be playing as much as possible, so I’d say Salford was frustrating; it was a good opportunity and things just didn’t work out, from niggles and stuff like that. I’d say that was disappointing, to say the least, but I wouldn’t say I look back on anything and think ‘oh that’s really negative’ or anything like that. I just do it for enjoyment really and nothing more than that.
You joined up with Altrincham late last season as the club was competing for promotion in the National League North. What were the impressions you took away from Alty?
Really good, to be fair. It was a good move for me at the time, they were flying and I was brought in kind of to help them push on. I didn’t really have the kind of impact I wanted to, just because one of the wingers just started picking up form when I joined. They finished well, they had a really settled team, and it was just kind of trying to break in as much as possible. Training was really good, the way they play is how I like to play, getting on the ball, play out from the back, be attacking. It was a really enjoyable couple of months for me down there.
What kind of approach do you need from a manager and which one has understood that best?
I’d say Steve Halford got a lot out of me when I was first at Ashton, just because he kind of knew just to leave me alone and let me get on with things, but also when I needed a rollocking he’d give it me. Jody (Banim) as well moved me through the middle at Ashton and I scored a lot of goals for him there, so that was a good time for me. I’d say both of them have been important at certain times. I wouldn’t say I’ve played under a manager who’s been detrimental to my game or anything like that, sometimes it just doesn’t work out for whatever reason. Parky (Altrincham boss Phil Parkinson) is obviously good with his tactics and the way that he likes to play, and it’s a bit different to everyone else I’ve worked under, but everyone has their own quirks. I’d say Steve Halford and Jody got the best out of me so far.
What is a typical week like for you, in terms of routine?
Just working! I work in recruitment, so longer hours; 8 until 5/half 5, whatever it is. I’ve just had a newborn as well, so I don’t know how that’s gonna impact me in the next couple of months! Little Luca Jude Chadwick came last Wednesday, my first child with my missus, and it’s exciting, he’s brilliant. Sleepless nights, but it’s good. Other than that, spending time with family, friends, watching as much Liverpool as I can. Very standard, nothing too over-the-top or exciting.
What’s your overall outlook on your football at this point? More focused on just enjoying it, or any sense of ‘I wanna go all out and push to get to this level, then that level etc.’?
A bit of both, to be honest. In non-league, people seem to be getting younger and younger now, as I’m getting older, but I’d say enjoyment’s very much important for me. The money side’s not important; I know people play for the money, but I joined Cleggy because I know it’s a good atmosphere. Like I said to him when I came in, ‘you might be down near the bottom at the moment but you’ve got a lot of new players in who, if they gel, could be a really good team.’ I’m very much keen on a promotion push; it might sound daft, looking at the table, but that’s what you’ve got to aim for, and he’s certainly of that view also. It’s obviously a long way to go, but just enjoy it, and hopefully the rewards come with it.
One artist/song you’d sneak on to the team playlist, and have you ever been in charge of the music at any club?
I don’t think I’ve done the playlist anywhere; everyone used to chip in with their own songs. Big fan of Gerry Cinnamon at the moment, so I’d probably have ‘Belter’ on, or ‘Canter.’ Or a bit of Serge Pizzorno; his new ‘S.L.P.’ is very good. So some of them, but can mix it up with a bit of Chris Brown if needs be.
Finally, outside of work and football – and getting to grips with being a new dad – what else do you enjoy?
I’m a big Liverpool fan so I enjoy that as much as possible. Everyone loves a good series, and Power, Game of Thrones, always been keen on them. I’d say probably just going out mainly, seeing my mates; I don’t get to see a lot of them sometimes because I’m away with work and stuff, so catching up with them’s always good. I think my priorities might be changing in the next couple of months!
Interview by @chris_brookes