The feature interview in this weekend's Matchday Programme for the game against Cambridge is with veteran striker Paul Hayes. Ben Catton sat down with him last week and you can read the first part below.
So, Paul, what were your first steps in to football?
My older brother used to play for Arsenal in the 80’s, so it was always sort of bound to happen that I would end up playing football. As soon as I could walk I started kicking a ball and yeah, it all went from there really. As soon as I got picked for the school team that drove me on to keep playing and to get better. Before long I was captain of my school team and playing every single day, without fail.
On to your first professional club then, Norwich City. Tell us more about your move and how you signed for ‘The Canaries’
I could have signed for Wimbledon, ‘The Crazy Gang’ but I chose Norwich in the end just because of the setup to be honest. The training ground, facilities and whole feel of the place ws brilliant and I made my mind up pretty much straight away. Wimbledon was really poor facilities-wise and there wasn’t much competition, Norwich was the team for me from an early age. I was a Year 9, 12-year-old kid at the time and they looked after me well. I signed after a two-week trial that I went on at my Easter holiday break. I was there until I was 19 and yeah Norwich was a great time for me, I learned a lot.
Scunthorpe was the next club you moved to, how did that move come about and what are your memories of your time up at Scunthorpe?
So, I got released after the third year of my YTS football apprenticeship at Norwich and I was gutted that I was leaving. My old youth team manager Aidy Boothroyd went on a coaching course with Brian Laws before I left and reccomnded me to Bri who was the first team manager at Scunny at the time. I went up there, finished my YTS programme properly and soon broke in to the first team at Scunthorpe who were League 2 at the time. I then signed a 2-year-deal after a successful end to the season and yeah, had a fantastic time. Scored eight in eighteen in my first year and then twenty goals the second season when we went up through the play-offs.
Fantastic. You moved to Barnsley after that Paul, how did that come about?
Yeah, so the Chief Exec at Scunny moved to Barnsley at the end of the season, my contract was up and I was looking to see what my options were and I ended up moving with him over to Barnsley. It was ideal, they were an established League 1 side and I was delighted to secure a second successive promotion in my career with them up to the Championship. Things went well in the Championship, manager ended up getting sacked November time, new guy came in and did not play me so much. I went on loan to Huddersfield towards the end of that season just purely to get some games in and scored one in four, came back and ended up going back to Scunthorpe at the end of that season.
Read the rest of this Feature Player Interview in Saturday's programme!