That Magical Night caught up with Cambridge United goalkeeper (and all round good egg) Danny Potter, straight after the U’s 2-1 win over Oxford last Thursday night.
TMN: [Trying to manoeuvre as far away from Paul Parker and the Setanta team as possible – the pitch isn’t big enough for two Mickey Mouse media organisations, after all….] Congratulations on tonight’s win Danny – although we should point out that ¼ of TMN is an Oxford United fan…
TMN: Right, you’ve pitched up at this fine university city after spells at Chelsea, Exeter, Canvey, Weymouth , Stevenage, Timbuktoo and most places in between. Planning to settle down?
DP: That’s the plan! When I was growing up in Ipswich, the other big teams in the region were Colchester and Cambridge so it’s great to be here. We’ll be back up there in the league soon hopefully. I wanted to come the beginning of last season but it didn’t work out.
TMN: You’re the grand old age of 28 now. Like most keepers, there must have been long apprenticeship involving a lot of frustrating bench-warming. Admit it: did you spend 10 years willing horrendous ‘accidents’ on first choice keepers across the land?
DP: No! You’ve just got to be patient. And I’ve had good spells. Last year at Stevenage was fantastic. A great bunch of lads. Last season was my only year on the bench and I even started that as 1st choice but then got sent off! I had four years at Canvey where I first played with Lee Boylan (who scored the last minute winner tonight)…
TMN: Stinking Boylan! I remember watching him for a season at Kingstonian. He was f*****g dire. Oh, how we used to bellow at him…
DP: Well, that was a difficult time for Lee. You do know he was recovering from Crohn’s disease?
TMN: [Guilty silence] Oh. I see. I didn’t know that. At the time, I mean. I obviously wouldn’t have…Moving on! You were a trainee at Chelsea. Who did you play with and who’s the worst player to have blagged their way to a Premiership career?
DP: To be honest, they were good players there. I was in the same youth team as Neil Clement, Jody Morris, Rob Wolleastan and Nick Crittenden. But the one who was a surprise was John Terry. He was three or four years younger than us and he was a small lad. There were doubts. I’m actually surprised that Jody Morris hasn’t done better. He was quality.
TMN: What’s been your biggest disappointment in football?
DP: Being turned down by Ipswich, my hometown club. I was at Chelsea, and I had a two week trial at Manchester United, but when I asked Ipswich, they wouldn’t even let me on the training ground.
TMN: Good. Good. Gripes and resentment. That’s TMN’s natural habitat. Who’s a rubbish keeper who has no right to be playing in a higher league than you?
DP: [Laughs and refuses to get drawn in despite repeated provocations] No, the Premiership keepers are obviously good enough. But I can’t watch Football League Review sometimes. It does my head in. There are some average keepers in the lower half of the Championship, the lower half especially.
TMN: Let’s bash the world of hyped up Premiershite football. What would you get rid of if you were in charge?
DP: The money. I don’t mind the superstars earning the money, but when there are average players getting £40 000 a week…
TMN: Like who?
DP: Oh, I wouldn’t want to name…
TMN: Ok, who’s the worst football pundit clogging the airwaves?
TMN: May I humbly suggest Paul Parker? Have you watched him on Setanta? He’s truly awful. [TMN chuckles uproariously]
DP: Watch out, mate. He’s just behind you.
TMN: What is this? Panto? [TMN turns around to be greeted by the sight of PAUL PARKER STANDING THREE YARDS AWAY!] Erm…what I mean is…
DP: Paul’s actually a great guy. There was a time when I wasn’t getting a game and my wife was 8 and a half months pregnant. He was manager at Chelmsford and he threw me a lifeline. He really helped me out.
TMN: Back to the bile! Who’s your footballing nemesis?
DP: Richard Wright! He was always at Ipswich. No one was going to get ahead of him. He was just too good.
TMN: What job would you do if you weren’t a footballer?
DP: I’ve done them all. I’ve been part time so I’ve had all sorts of jobs: labourer, sales rep, delivery driver. I’ve got three kids and it can be tough. Sometimes non league fans don’t realise that you might have been working since 6am and then you have to play that evening.
TMN: [TMN recalls telling Kingstonian midfielder Geoff Pitcher to ‘stick to window cleaning’ after he’d failed to win a 50 50 on a cold Tuesday night.] Yeah, stupid fans. Finally, where are you going to finish this season?
DP: Hopefully top half and build from there next season.
TMN: Cheers, Danny. Many thanks.