Player Q&A Session – Martin Conway

Player Q&A Session – Martin Conway

Last night via Twitter & Facebook we hosted another in a series of Q&A sessions with current St Ives Town players with the questions being asked by the Ives fans. Goalkeeper Martin Conway was next to be quizzed.

For those that missed it or don’t have access to social media, here’s the Q&A session in full.

Question – From Janet C – Keepers are either the star or the villain of a game what was your best and worst game this season?

Martin – I think the worst for me were both against Rushall Olympic! Away we had the heartbreak of losing our lead and also not a great game personally from me. Alternatively there was our home game where there were 4 or 5 penalties in the game and the worst thing for me personally was not saving any of them! The best were probably the games in which I got injured in vs Kings Langley back in September or the two home games since I’ve re-joined Vs Leiston or Hednesford with me being busy in both right until the final whistle!

From Ross Prior – What do you say to those (normally outfield players) who reckon you don’t have to be fit to be a keeper and that the sessions look easy…?

M – They are talking a load of rubbish! From personal experience I probably find it more tiring doing the repetitive bursts of explosive movement in goalkeeping as opposed to running for long periods. That’s not me saying playing on pitch is easy!

Another from Janet – What made you want to be a goalkeeper?

M – I didn’t really have a choice! I had two older brother’s so in order to be allowed to play I had to go in goal! Seriously though, our keeper left when I was younger left to move to the Isle of Wight and my brother’s helped out and did the GK coaching/shooting practice for them so I thought is I’d go in goal.

Another from Ross Prior – What advice do you have for young keepers?

M – Be prepared to make mistakes! Nobody will ever be perfect but if you get down from it then you are likely to make more. Get annoyed at yourself, so that you show determination to not make them again! Know that your job is to make saves and be able to play with your feet too!

From Rennie – Who is your favourite goalkeeper of all time ?

M – Only one choice for me… Iker Casillas.

From Kai – What’s your strategy for trying to save a penalty?

M – I can’t give that away! I have a set idea based on the penalty takers run up and years of working out whether it works or not. It’s seemed successful over the years! The other part is where possible do some analysis on the team you are playing and find out who took their previous penalties and where they went. Bully & Ricky are normally happier with this approach but I don’t think my approach has done me badly through the years either!

From Hooky – You had a spell this season as an outfield player at Leighton Town before coming back to the Ives as a goalie. How did becoming a midfield maestro come about and do you prefer being out on the pitch or between the sticks?

M – Always done both since a young age, started off as a midfielder and ended up going in goal after a few years because our GK left and my older brother’s were doing the GK training!  I had been out injured for a while and Fin Iron had come in and done well. I spoke it through with Ricky and knew I needed to be playing regularly. I didn’t necessarily want to drop down to keep playing in goal as it was mid season so thought I’d give it a go. Leighton was the local club to my school so showing the kids that I could play as well as being a GK was quite nice. I thought I would enjoy playing out on pitch more than I did if I’m honest! Don’t get me wrong, you get a massive buzz scoring or getting assists but there’s still long periods of the game that you aren’t involved. I feel like I’m more influential & involved as a GK and still get to feel the buzz by spoiling the game for others!

From Alex – U12’s Gk – Did you have to work on kicking the ball so far or did it just come naturally as I struggle for distance at the moment?

M – I used to be rubbish off the floor! I would be really good kicking out of my hands but struggled off the floor too. I spent hours with my brothers and after training sessions when I was younger to focus on it. I try to copy Rugby techniques for goal kicks where they have a set routine that they go through. Just focus on your body & foot position to strike the ball cleanly. A lot of the distance will come as you grow and get stronger.

From John – Do you have any superstitions or routines you follow on a game day? If so what are they?

M – I’m a bit of a strange one, I like my routines. I sit in the same place every game at home games and stuck with the place that Trebesy had when I joined. I lay my glove towel on the floor and towel on the seat and get everything that I need out of my bag and have it ready. I put everything on left side first, don’t ask why but I do it in normal life too! Manager’s that iIhave had haven’t liked the final one, I put my wrist tape on whilst they are starting their team talk, it’s just a routine that has stuck and makes me focus on what they are saying.

From Janet Carter – We at St Ives don’t barrack the away goal keeper (much). Does any of it bother you?

M – I genuinely enjoy it! It is difficult when you are losing and you have nothing you can do to really affect the game. It is good when you’ve been taking abuse and then your team score or you save a penalty. Kettering away sticks in my mind as I gave it back when we won!

My son is 13 and plays academy football – The modern day keeper is encouraged to use his feet and play out of the back, what are your thoughts on this? How can he improve in this area?

M – For me it’s something that has obviously come more into football in the last 5-10 years. I personally would really enjoy it because it means I would be more involved and could possibly use more of my strengths. Alternatively it is also unnecessary pressure on goalkeepers who might not be very comfortable playing this way. In my eyes, the best way to improve it would be to work on his first touch and confidence in moving the ball out of his feet to play his next pass. Don’t panic with people chasing you down as 9/10 times they are running so fast that if you move the ball they will run straight past you! Move sideways with the ball across the pitch to always be able to give an angle for a pass and know where you want to play it next.

From Kieran – Do you have a glove sponsorship?

I am really lucky to be sponsored by Goalkeeper Warz. Paul did some coaching when I was at Ampthill Town and has started up his own GK coaching and equipment business. I’m not too fussy with gloves so have had lots of gloves with different styles and colourways over the years!

From Ross Prior – Favourite glove brand and why?

M – I’m biased as I have a glove sponsor! If I’m remaining neutral then it’s definitely one of the of the smaller brands. Brands like Goalkeeper Warz and Calma are excellent and others like West Coast GK, SellsGKP and KA Goalkeeping have been my favourites. I think the fit and confidence you have in your gloves is so important! There’s been times between changing gloves where I’ve had 3 pairs out in my warm up and not been comfortable because the ball didn’t feel as though it was sticking! VG3 cut or Sells Total Contact are my go to.

From Lawrence – What’s the best part about playing for St Ives?

M – When I first joined it was the underdog mentality. The amount of times we played against teams who were expecting to beat us comfortably, as the game went on they would get more and more frustrated because they couldn’t break us down! Linking with that it’s got to be the support we get from our fans and the tight knit group the management team have created. Regardless of where people are from, their ages or experience levels we all get 100% support from the fans.

From Jake S – With the football season taking a back seat for now, what are you doing to keep yourself fit during Isolation?

M – My poor dog has taken the hit for my boredom I think! Lots more walks than usual so she must be exhausted. I’ve also started in running just to give me something challenging to do. Nothing will give you the buzz of playing football though,  so I hope it can come back safely & quickly.

From Chris – Best player you have played with?

M – This is so difficult as I’ve been in some teams that are completely different! I’m lucky enough to have played with talented players like Ben Richards-Everton, Danny Newton, Borja Vicent, Danny Watson & Sam Cartwright. I would look back on this when I finish playing and decide I think.

Who was your idol growing up and why?

M – Iker Casillas. He was absolutely incredible and was consistent for so many years. He wasn’t the biggest but he made up for it with his athleticism and how he would constantly be talking to his team. Pepe Reina was another but that was more because of his distribution when at Liverpool.

From Billy G – What’s a realistic target & finish next season for St Ives?

M – Well this Covid-19 season was a bit disappointing and frustrating because we genuinely felt as though we were more than capable of staying up. We had turned the corner with confidence and performances and just needed to get ourselves into a rhythm. Next season whenever that might be… I think we could quite easily look at a comfortable mid-table position. I think we found this year it’s important not to stray too far away from what we were so good at and if we can find that again then definitely mid-table.

From Terry – What was your first ever pair of boots you wore?

M – I’ve had to ask my parents this! I think it was a pair of Umbro’s probably similar to Umbro Speciali. My older brother said he can remember me having some ‘dodgy multi coloured Diadora boots (blue red and white)’. I’ve never been the best with choosing boots and so when I was younger I was lucky I had two older brothers who I would copy from.

From Megan Wilson – Do you have a set pre match meal?

M – I don’t really have a set meal if I’m honest. I’ve just always stuck to trying not to eating any meals within 3 hours of kick off. If I have anything it might be something light or just some chocolate / sweets on the way to a game.

From Oliver Unwin – Favourite ground you’ve played at?

M – The best ground is probably the Walkers Stadium as I grew up in Leicester. Other than that, the best grounds for atmosphere and crowds that give me a bit of stick (which strangely i enjoy!) are: Woking, Farnborough, Halifax Town and Chester FC where I played right midfield!

From Sharon E – What’s your full time job and how does that effect your non league commitments?

M – I’m a PE teacher in Leighton Buzzard. I’ve always been really lucky to of had Heads of Department that have been supportive of my football. There have been times where I have had to miss parent evenings or leave school early to get to fixtures etc. It’s also been a massive help to of had managers’ who understand the job that I do and the extra commitments I have outside of normal working hours. My wife is also a very understanding ‘football widow’ who luckily enjoys the time I’m out of the house (I think)!

I think that’s all the questions. Many thanks Martin for taking the time to answer these. Hope to see you back between the posts (or in midfield!) at WWR before too long!

M – Been a pleasure, hopefully see everyone at St Ives Town soon. Stay safe.