Interview Tom Smith

Tom Smith

Personal Details

Club:
Bath City FC
Full Name:
Tom Spencer Smith
Nationality:
English
Date of Birth:
25-02-1998
Place of birth:
Swindon
Position:
Midfielder
Shirt number:
4

Career

2014-2018
Swindon Town FC
2017 (on loan)
Waterford FC
2017 (on loan)
Bath City FC
2017-2018 (on loan)
Bath City FC
2018 (on loan)
Bath City FC
2018-2019
Cheltenham Town FC
2018-2019 (on loan)
Bath City FC
2019-
Bath City FC

Interview

Introduce yourself…

Hi, I’m Tom smith and I’m a central midfielder for Bath City FC. I’ve spent most of my career at Swindon town having progress from the age of 8 to professional level. I managed to make a total of 16 first team appearance whilst at Swindon. I then spent periods on loan to Waterford in Irish first division and Bath City FC in my second year as a pro. I later that year got released by Swindon town after 12 years at the club. After a successful year on loan for me at bath city I managed to secure a 2 year deal at Cheltenham Town FC.

What are your specific qualities as a midfielder?

I would describe myself as a box to box midfield who likes to put his body around and is aggressive in his play. I like to get forward and be involved in good passages of play. I also like to add goals to my games to be a more rounded player. But first and foremost having the mental attitude to work hard and have the desire to be better than your opponent every game. I think that something no matter if you’re having a bad game, you can keep consistent if you have the right mindset going into a game.

You have played in your youth at Bristol City FC and Swindon Town FC. How did you experienced the youth competitions?

I started the Swindon town academy at the age of 8 and I’ve been in constant competition since then. I think you defiantly feel this at a young age, and more so now with younger players. I believe there’s huge pressure on young people becoming a professional footballer or to make something of themselves, when realistically you should be enjoying yourself at a young age. So for me I’m glad there wasn’t too much pressure back when I was younger, I was just playing football because I enjoyed it and it felt natural. It was only until I got to the older age groups of swindon town, where I started to feel pressure to succeed as I suddenly realised that I want to do this as a career. The strange thing to look back on was the fact that I was never the ‘best’ player all through the system, sometimes i didn’t know how to handle mistakes or constructive criticism which led to not feeling so confident on the pitch. But in the end I had to work harder and learn from experiences and show I had the attitude to obtain a pro-contract.

You have made your professional football debut in the League One with Swindon Town FC against Preston North End. How have you experienced that day?

Preston North end was my first professional game, i was 17 at the time and I remember being involved on the bench a couple of times prior to this and it was a honourable feeling. During the second half I remember sitting on the bench, and mark Cooper turning around to me and saying ‘go get really warm’. It was at that moment I started to get butterflies but also excited at the same time. During the warm up I recall getting a bit of stick because of the colour of my hair, it was only light hearted so I didn’t take it any other way. But this kind of got me in the mood to show everyone what I could do. So when I finally got the call to come and put my shirt on I was ready. The actual game went really well in terms of a debut for me. To play in-front of 17,000 people, in league one and to be out there in the the red and white shirt, it was special.

By Swindon Town you loan out to Waterford FC and Bath City FC. How were those moments?

In February 2017 I was loaned out to Irish first division side Waterford FC. At first this wasn’t my first choice for a loan move because I wanted to stay in the UK. But after considering the opportunity and the fact that one other swindon town player was out there too I decided to go ahead. I ended up playing 10 games in total between February and may 5th. Looking back, it’s one of the best experiences of my career. I fitted in quite well over there, and played some good football. One thing that does stick out, is the fan base. I think that was the first year the attendance bounced from an average of 200 to 1500 at the home games. The fans were with you no matter what, chanted throughout and I even got my own chant. On to my first year at bath city, this was in my second year as a pro under David flitcroft. I only played one game that year, against Norwich in the cup. After this point I had a conversation and realised that I was going to get limited game time. So when Bath City came about and I met up with Jerry Gill it was a no brainer to get signed and get playing. The style of play fitted me really well, and I had one of my most successful years in football, I think this was just down to enjoying myself and having a manager that believed in me. During my first loan spell at Bath city, one of my favourite moments was Chippenham town away. I managed to score two goals and we came away winning the game 3-0. The atmosphere was electric and it was a competitive game of football. In the end I totalled 31 appearances and 11 goals from midfield.

You have played by Swindon Town FC in the League One. And with Waterford FC in the SSE Airtricity League. How have you experienced these two competitions?

Playing in both league one and the first division over in the Ireland there is a clear difference. But I guess you approach each game the same and no game is easy if you don’t do this. As I progress into the first team when they were in league one, I was used to this level of football. You get some very technical teams and so more long ball based teams. But at the time when I was playing under mark Cooper and Luke Williams we liked to play football. So this suited me a lot and it was easy enough slotting into the way they wanted to play having worked with my under 18s coach Scott Lindsey for two year prior to this where we played total football. Over in Ireland it did vary, sometimes we would play some teams that would pass the ball and over times the pitch wouldn’t be so great so often they would play a scrappier game. I remember my first league game for waterford, away at Athlone. The pitch was basically mud and the flood lights didn’t work prior to kick off so there was a chance the game wasn’t even going to be played.

1 June 2018, you have signed a two year contract with Cheltenham Town. How have you experienced your time at Cheltenham Town?

At the end of my second year as a pro at Swindon town, Phil brown decided not to renew my contract with the club. After a good year personally at bath city just missing out on the play-off. I secured a two year deal with league rivals Cheltenham town FC under Gary Johnson. I went into the new season very positive and hoping to get some game time. Unfortunately he got sacked after four games, and the switch of manager didn’t help me due to the fact they Brought 1/2 midfielders in. Sometimes this happens in football and different managers have different ideas of players and systems. So I spoke with the management team about my development going forward and we got to the conclusion that it would be best for me to go out on loan and play games. I ended up signing with bath city again on loan until the end of the season where we reached the plays off and just missed out. On a personal note, it was a difficult year for me in which I had to experience and learn from lot on and off the field in order to be mentally stronger. I also learnt how important it is to speak out about problems you may have, whether this is with the manager or someone you trust. So for me, it’s a case of learning that no season is the same and that you should learn and adapt from every situation in order to progress not just as a player but as a human being.

Which competitions has spoken to you the most? 

I think there’s always tough times in football no matter what league you play in. League one is the highest level I’ve played at so naturally I will say that. I’ve played in some tough games where we haven’t been at our best, for example when we lost 4-0 away at Rochdale. I played in some games where we played very well. What I’m trying to get at is that no matter what league you’re in it will be tough and competitive as no one wants to lose. Of course the higher you go the better the players will be. The standard of players and competitiveness is getting better in the lower league which makes for a more competitive league which allows for player development.

What is your best moment in your football career?

To date the best moment of my career is scoring my first professional against crewe after coming on at half time. It’s a special feeling scoring for the club that you grow up playing for, and its even better when you go on and win the game. After this id say scoring two goals against chippenham as mentioned above, purely because of how much there is riding on this game and how much bath city fans want to win. I love the fact that there a real buzz around this game!

What are your personal goals this season?

This season I’m a bath city player for good which I’m happy about, so this year my aims are to enjoy football and try to win something with this club. Promotion out of this league is the end goal. But in between that comes my individual goals. These include, reaching 100 appearances for the club, scoring more goals than I did last year, to be a key member of the team and try to make an impression in some sort of way.


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