What have you been up to since you left Lowestoft?
“Since leaving Lowestoft, I joined Kings Lynn where I’m currently into my third season there as a player, but over the last few years I have been getting into the management side of things. I help out with the coaching and have become the side’s first team coach as well as working at Peterborough United as their head of recruitment.”
Differences between management and playing?
“I haven’t really noticed much difference. One thing I have noticed though is that it is hard sometimes to have the respect of the players whilst playing, then having to go into the changing room at half-time and tell them why things aren’t going so well or how we could improve. Then you have to go back out and play for the second half with the same group of players. So, you’ve got to find that fine line between it all, but at the moment we’ve got the right balance at Kings Lynn.”
Do you have any standout memories from your time at Lowestoft?
“It’s got to be the 2013/14 Bostik Premier Division play-off final against AFC Hornchurch. I had been involved in four play-off campaigns during my time at Lowestoft, but I remember that one especially because we beat them 3-1 in the final. Most of the lads had also been a part of all four play-off attempts and it was a massive achievement considering in January 2014 I think we were around 12th in the league. We stuck together and went on a ten-game unbeaten run at home that sneaked us into the playoffs. Which was different to every other year as we in the past was always in the thick of a promotion chase, challenging for the title. Whereas that year we entered the playoff mix late and just sneaked in.”
What was different to other playoff campaigns?
“There was just more of a togetherness that year I feel. We were keeping lots of clean sheets, I think in the league we kept 25 clean sheets out of 46 games and that just brought a real togetherness amongst our backline. It just felt a little bit different to previous attempts as we had the momentum going into the playoffs, whereas in other years we were in the promotion mix and maybe had that disappointment hanging over us that we could not go up automatically. However, on this occasion, we felt we had no pressure, as we had gone in as underdogs, which brought the team together.”
What is your favourite goal that you scored during your time at Lowestoft?
“An unbelievable goal during the 2011/12 derby game against Bury Town. We were away and found ourselves 2-1 down at halftime. My goal came from a corner which took a deflection and arrived to me at the back post and I took a touch and volleyed the ball in despite having three people trying to block it.”
What is your favourite goal that a teammate scored during your time at Lowestoft?
“Lubomir Guentchev scored a goal from the halfway line against Harrow Borough away during the 2011/12 season. Harrow Borough’s keeper took a goal kick from the right-hand side of the six-yard box and he hit it straight down the middle and it’s just gone straight to Lubomir on the halfway line who has just volleyed it straight into the goal.”
If you could play with just a few former Lowestoft players, who would they be and why?
“Ashlee Jones as he was just a brilliant keeper, definitely was the best in the league and was a massive part of the 2013/14 play-off campaign where we kept that high number of clean sheets. He pulled off some world class saves and his distribution was up there as one of the best within non-league football. Three defenders also come to mind, the first one being Greg Crane who played a massive part for me when I first joined the club. He was a brilliant leader to have in the changing room, technically a very good player too who was able to play with both feet and was up there as one of the best two-footed players that I have played with. Another would be Dan Gleeson who’s experience and leadership was just brilliant. The final defender would be Curtley Williams, who got his move to Luton which he fully deserved, as he was just a machine. There were also two strikers that stood out for me. Jack Defty who was one of the best strikers I have played with was unbelievable and Jake Reed who was a goal machine.”
If you had to pick a favourite game at Lowestoft what would it be?
“One big game that comes to mind is when we beat Bury Town 2-1 in 2010/11 play-off semi-finals, which was during my first season at Lowestoft, where we eventually ended up playing Tonbridge Angels in the play-off final. Bury at the time had just beaten us to third place in the league whilst we finished fourth, so there was a lot of rivalry as they thought they were better because they finished higher than us. We went on to win the game and make the final but unfortunately, we couldn’t achieve promotion that time around. Although, the 2013/14 Bostik Premier division play-off final against AFC Hornchurch has to be my favourite game during my time at Lowestoft.”
What attracted you to Lowestoft?
“I was 16 when I played for Kings Lynn and I played with the likes of Adam Smith, Andrew Fisk and Greg Crane, so I knew quite a few of the boys before coming to Lowestoft. Adam and I went to Peterborough, so I knew him quite well. When I got released, Adam just gave me a call asking what I was doing and asked if I fancied coming to Lowestoft. So, I looked at the squad and thought I might as well go along and see how it is and ended up staying for a good five years.”
What are you plans for the season ahead (if playing) or what are your plans for the future (stopped playing)?
“As previously mentioned I’m at Kings Lynn and at the moment we are third in the Evo-Stik South Premier Division, just losing the one game so far so hopefully we can have a really successful year. The aim is to achieve promotion this year. My personal aim is to continue my coaching so that I can get as much experience as possible.”
“I’d like to thank the former Lowestoft chairman Gary Keyzor as he was a massive part of the club and he would always help the lads out as much as possible. So, it is very sad to see him leave his role but he will always go down as a legend in the eyes of the players.”
On behalf of everyone at Lowestoft Town FC, we would like to wish Sam all the best with his coaching and playing for the coming season.
Updated 13:37 - 5 Oct 2017 by Sean Galea-Pace