Interview with Harvey Wiles-Richards

Harvey, welcome to the club. How have you settled in?

I’ve settled in really well. All of the boys have welcomed me. It’s always hard to come into a club, especially with someone in your position, but Gez has been really good with me. It’s been easy for me to come into the team as, since everyone gets on so well, it’s no trouble bringing in an extra man to the group.

What attracted you the most about coming down here?

Well, I already knew Jason Matthews from when I was at Bath City, so having someone there that I already knew was a massive boost. We had a great relationship at Bath, so when he told me that there was an opportunity to play, after coming back from my injury, it was a no-brainer.

You played at the Bob Lucas for the first time on Saturday. How does it compare to other grounds you’ve played at?

It’s quite windy!

But, the stadium itself is lovely. It’s old-school, but it’s a big ground for this league. The pitch is really nice, too, and after speaking to the groundsmen I could tell just how much work is put into the pitch. That really helps, especially on a Saturday.

The fans are brilliant, too. They were singing very loudly during my first game. I always appreciate fans, because it gives the team a big push. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage for the rest of the season.

You made a lot of fantastic saves. As a goalkeeper, just how does it feel to stop the ball crossing the line?

At the end of the day, that is my job!

Obviously it’s not as easy as it looks, but it is my job, so as long as I’m making those saves for the team, that’s the most important thing.

You mentioned that it’s not as easy as it looks. What’s something about being a goalkeeper that outfield players and fans don’t understand or appreciate?

It’s the pressure. Nine times out of 10, if a goalkeeper makes a mistake, it will lead to a goal. You have to be 100 percent focused for the whole game. Otherwise, one lapse in concentration can cost the team three points. I’d say that’s the biggest thing. I wouldn’t have it any other way, though.

They say that goalkeepers are the maddest players in any team. Is this true? Do goalkeepers need to be mad?

I think so. I’m a bit of a loose cannon!

You’ve got to put your head where it hurts. When you’re one-on-one with a player, you have to be prepared to take a ball to the face. But, as long as I can stop the ball going in my goal, I don’t mind getting hurt.

What is the best save you’ve ever made?

It was for Bristol City’s under-21s in a Premier League Cup semi-final against Birmingham City. I made a block on the line, after the ball had come in from a cross, before scooping a header away at the far post straight after. It was 1-1 at the time, so that save kept us in the game.

Goalkeepers tend to start outfield when they first play football. Is this what happened with you, or was being in goal always your destiny?

I’ve only been playing in goal from the age of 14 or 15. Before that, I was a bagsman, scoring plenty of goals. Now it’s flipped and I’m stopping them from going in!

My previous ability has definitely helped with playing out from the back, and, from knowing what I used to play like, I also know how strikers will try and score, based on their style and body shape.

Enough about your ability on-the-pitch, have you had the chance to get to know the lads off it?

The dressing room has really good vibes. We had a pre-match meal before my first game, which gave me a bit of time to get to know the boys. The bond is already strong, even though it’s only been a couple of weeks, so I’m sure that bond will become even stronger by the end of the season.

You get to pick two lads in the squad for a night out – no curfew. Who do you choose?

I’ll probably pick Gez and Jase. We need to stick together. Goalkeepers’ union and all that. To be fair, if I didn’t pick those two, they would be fuming with me!

Charlie Rowan said he saw a player shave off his eyebrows at an end-of-season party. Can you share any crazy stories that top that?

One lad I played with had a show in a club, and he took off his shoes and socks, before making the bouncers carry him out on a chair. He then made everyone who walked past tickle his feet. It was mental!

What are your overall career hopes?

I want to play at the highest level that I possibly can. The Premier League would be my ultimate dream, but if that doesn’t happen, I just want to make the most out of my career that I possibly can.

What are your hopes for your spell at Weymouth?

I’d love for us to reach the play-offs. If I can help the team get there and get us promoted, that would be the perfect way to end the season. But, if not, I just want to help us win as many games as possible.

Interview by
Jack Webb

Similar Posts