What have you been up to since you left Lowestoft?
“Since I have left Lowestoft I have carried on playing football at more of a local level. I was at Needham for a few years and most recently at AFC Sudbury. Although, more recently my football career has taken a backseat to my professional and family life. That was the reason I left Lowestoft. Workwise I have been very busy building my sports coaching business and I’ve started property investing. In terms of family life, I have two children who are growing up fast, some supporters may be able to remember Teddy running around the ground in his Lowestoft gear. With all this going on, unfortunately football has taken more of a back seat recently.”
What do you do for the sports coaching business?
“I run a sports coaching, performing arts and health and well-being company called Premier Education group and it’s a national company owned and ran by David Batch who I believe is well known around the area. I run five franchises across Suffolk, Essex and Kent, which keeps me busy. We have a team of 55 staff and we work in about 125 primary schools every week, teaching thousands of kids each week. As you can imagine it is very time consuming, but I am very involved and passionate about it, despite not being able to have the time to coach. My role is more about facilitating and logistically running the franchises, making it more than a full-time job.”
Do you have any standout memories from your time at Lowestoft?
“Yes, I have a few, some of which don’t involve me being on the football pitch. One of those being that special feeling of driving past the main stand and into the car park on a match day and I think about the sea of blue shirts that I see around the ground. The vast support that was there home and away was really great. I can remember Gary Keyzor and the group of lads that we had there. I knew most of the lads before I joined and the atmosphere in the changing room was just immense, that’s without mentioning Micky Chapman and Ady Gallagher, who were different to anything I had been involved in football prior to coming to the club. I loved Micky because he typified what that changing room was all about.
I look back at my time there with real warmth and it always brings a smile to my face. I wish it could have lasted longer during my playing career as I could have been involved with it earlier and there are parts of me that wished I would have stayed longer. Although this would have meant fighting off the battles of moving closer to home and allocating more time to my work and family life because I loved it there.
There were a few moments on the pitch, a couple of goals I scored and a couple of moments where we were going for league titles and it’s a great position to be in as a player. Scoring goals and running into the crowd and it was a proper football club, where people came out in their numbers to support us and you feel that as a player.”
What was your favourite goal during your time at the club?
“I remember my first goal for the club. It stands out for me because I had just joined Lowestoft from AFC Sudbury where I didn’t really enjoy it, the club was struggling and Lowestoft had chased me on a few occasions and it was great as I wanted to be there, I wanted the move to happen and I was pleased it happened. But at the time I was not at peak fitness, as well as having family and work life pressures burdening on me. It was my last real chance to play at a decent level non-league wise. I couldn’t turn it down, I wanted to do it. I was at this moral dilemma about being sensible and balancing my family and work life or playing football and just enjoying it for as long as possible. I went for it. I did feel a bit of pressure, mates I had played with at a decent level were possibly looking at me and thinking okay has he still got it? I think a few supporters remembered me scoring a hat-trick against them when I was at Cambridge City. It was the relief I felt when I scored that first goal for the club. It wasn’t a great goal and won’t be down in the history books but I poached it. I remember the ball dropping to me from about eight yards out and I just smashed it in. The relief I felt and the cheer I got was something I will never forget. It kick-started my spell at the club and I felt like I had found somewhere I wanted to be and that I felt comfortable. I think as a striker it is important to score early on because otherwise the pressure for you to prove your worth grows. That is why this was one of my favourite goals because it meant more than just the goal.
One of the other standout goals during my time was scored by Matt Nolan. I had played with Matt with a few times prior to joining Lowestoft at other clubs and I enjoyed playing up front with. But he wasn’t exactly one of the hardest working players to play alongside, which used to frustrate me at times. Instead what he did bring was flashes of brilliance, he could do stuff that I quite simply couldn’t. I just remember him being about 20 to 30 yards out with his back facing away from their goal and he flicked the ball around an opposing player and ran around the other side before curling a shot with the outside of his boot and clipped the left bar and flew into the net. I remember thinking that’s why he is on the team, five minutes ago I was screaming my head off at him for not making a run into space and he comes up with a piece of magic. That’s what I loved about him, he brought something different to the team that not many others had and he was able to do it which would win us games. I think we had enough hard-working players in the team, that could allow him to work his magic.”
If you could play with just a few former Lowestoft players, who would they be and why?
“I have a few who I would play with again if given the chance. Andrew Fisk and Adam Smith are joint top for me. I’ve known them from my childhood outside of football. I played with them at Kings Lynn and were friends of mine as well. But just in terms of work ethic and commitment from both of them, but particularly from Andrew in midfield who was just a little rat who just chased everything around, kicked people, won the ball, had a proper engine on him and I loved playing in the same side as him. Similarly, for Adam what I liked about him as a centre-forward was that he always wanted to find your feet, he didn’t just lump it up to you. His first option was always to try and find your feet. I loved that as well as his crosses, as I scored a lot of goals from his crosses.
Another player for me has to be Jamie Godbold. I was fortunate enough to play with him at Cambridge City and he had this natural ability to ghost past people. I have not played with many better players at non-league level than him.
Greg Crane was another who I loved playing with. A centre-half who was just a bit of an animal, who read the game really well and could have possibly played at a higher level with a longer career. But he is obviously a very talented coach as he has pursued that.”
If you had to pick a favourite game at Lowestoft what would it be?
“I think the game that really standouts for me is the game is the final game of the 2009/10 season against Tilbury.
As we had won the league and promotion to the Ryman Premier Division. We were presented with the trophy at the end of the game. I remember a bright sunny day. I remember carrying Teddy around on my shoulders after the game on the pitch. I remember the unique party atmosphere because I knew the club had been trying to achieve this objective for quite some time and this was where the club deserved to be. Prior to the season a few people had us down to challenge for the title and this did add pressure, so there was a great sense of relief when we were able to achieve this feat.”
What attracted you to Lowestoft?
“Micky Chapman and the players. Once I came to the club to meet Micky, watched training, looked around the ground and met the lads it sold it to me even more and I really understood what the place was all about. Initially, I had just bought into Micky’s infectious personality and energy, as well as speaking to a few of the players I already knew at the club.”
What are your plans for the remainder of the season?
“I’m not playing too much at the moment. I’m looking into the next step in my football journey. I am really keen to get involved in management. Again, family and work are making that slightly challenging at this moment in time. But that is something that I am passionate about and I’d love to do. I still enjoy playing for the reserves at Sudbury and helping some of the younger lads, but I’m really preparing for the next stage of my football career.”
“Thanks for all your support during my time at the club. I truly do have happy memories here and wish the club and everyone associated with it all the very best for now and the future.”
On behalf of everyone at Lowestoft Town FC, we would like to wish Danny all the best for the remainder of his playing career and his future management journey.
By Danny Cook.