David Fisher On Glentoran, AFC Wimbledon And Learning From Warren Feeney

David Fisher On Glentoran, AFC Wimbledon And Learning From Warren Feeney

An interview with David Fisher, by Callum McFadden for WFi.

You joined Glentoran in the summer of 2023. You have had a strong start to life in Northern Ireland with a goal-scoring rate of a goal per two games. How would you reflect on your time at the club so far?

“I am happy with how things are going because I joined up with the team a bit later than the rest of the players which means that I did not have the pre-season as I would have ideally wanted.

“That meant that when I first came in, it took me a little while to get up to full match fitness, however, when I got myself in the team, I have been fit and firing since and scored double figures for the season in all competitions to date.

“Overall, I can’t really complain with that because I knew from the moment that I signed, that the the gaffer obviously had a plan to give me opportunities to play, and I am making sure that I take those opportunities in my stride.”

Your manager is Warren Feeney, who was an international striker for Northern Ireland when he was a player. What has it been like working with someone like him as he knows what you’re going through as a forward on a match-by-match basis?

Working with Warren has been really well because he is probably a lot harder on us as forward players given his history in the game. 

“He talks me through my game as a whole and how important it is for me to hold the ball up and contribute to an attack with my movement.

“He has high standards but that is a good thing for me and for all of the players because he wants to push us on to improve as players and contribute to the success of the club as much as possible.

“Over the course of the season so far, I’ve been trying to score more goals within the six-yard area from cutbacks or crossed because he has emphasised how important being able to score one-touch finishes is in terms of my progression as a forward. 

“It is also nice to be able to speak to someone like him who has been there and done it all before as a player and ask him where he would have moved in a certain situation or what his approach would be in certain attacking scenarios. 

“Calling on his experience is really helpful in that sense.” 

One of the highlights of your time at the club so far, undoubtedly, has to be the 4-0 derby victory against Linfield in December 2023. Just how special an evening was that for you and the players, given that the game was at home and there were thousands of fans backing you from the stands?

“That night was one of the best nights of my career so far. 

“Any game against your big rivals is vital but I do not think anyone expected us to beat them 4-0 coming into the game. 

“It was one of those nights when we performed to our maximum as a team and you walk off the pitch at full time, just absolutely buzzing with how you’ve played and to share that with the fans who were, also, delighted was amazing.”

You progressed through the youth system at AFC Wimbledon and went on to represent the first team on a few occasions too. How do you reflect on your formative years as a footballer with the Dons?

“Overall, I have mixed feelings.

“My academy days were more enjoyable than how things worked out with the first team as time went on. 

“I was coached by Mark Robinson in the academy, and he was a fantastic coach who taught me so much. It is no surprise to see him now working at Chelsea.

“He has been a big influence on my career, and I owe a lot to him for helping enable me to go on and have a career as a professional football. 

“Coming through the system was exciting, then, when it came to breaking into the first team fold, it was a bit of a rollercoaster because I had loaned spells in non-League then had a few first-team opportunities before suffering an injury setback that hampered my progress when it came to establishing myself. 

“The toughest injury, during that time, was a hamstring which set me back for three months because it came at a time when the first team manager wanted to integrate me into the first team. 

“Looking back now, that injury sort of killed my progress with AFC Wimbledon as did a couple of decisions that just did not go my way.

“Despite that, I have no regrets because there are good and bad moments in football, but as a whole, I learned a lot from my time there.”

You had a few loans in Non-League football, most notably, at Hampton and Richmond Borough which is where you caught the eye of Warren Feeney who was then managing Welling United. How important was that loan spell in your development?

“I had a couple of loans at the club, and they really set me up to become a first-team footballer with a club like Glentoran where I am now. 

“Gary McCann was the manager who brought me in on loan for the first team when I was only 18 years of age. 

“I really appreciated the faith he put in me because it is difficult for managers to chuck a teenager into the first team especially when you need to perform in a competitive league such as National League South.

“I learned so much from playing regular, competitive, men’s football and the standard in the National League South was high and it continues to get higher as time goes on. 

“There are many former football league players now playing at the level and former football league clubs such as Yeovil Town and Torquay United being in the league shows you how strong the standard is. 

“I was playing against good players, week in; week out as a youngster which was exactly what I needed to kick on and showcase what I could do to other clubs and managers such as Warren who then took me to Glentoran.”

Last but not least, David, you are still a young player, at the age of 22. You are having a strong season at Glentoran and have just signed a new deal with the club. What do you hope to achieve in the next year or two as you progress forward in your career?

“From a personal perspective, I want to score as many goals as I can and contribute to the success of the team as much as I possibly can. 

As a team, we want to win silverware and we are in the latter stages of the Irish Cup so that is our main aim between now and the end of the season along with qualifying for European football. 

“Those are our objectives because we want to finish as high as we can in the league. 

“Going forward, into next season, silverware again is the main aim for the club. 

“We reached the County Antrim Shield final this season against Larne. 

“Unfortunately, we narrowly lost the game 2-1 but we learned a lot from that experience because seeing someone else lift a trophy that you could have won hurts a lot. 

“I remember standing on the pitch at the end of the game, feeling sad and angry, thinking that should be us and next time, we must make sure that it is. 

“Again, going forward, for me personally, I want to score as many goals as I can. If I can score 20 this season then I would be delighted but ultimately, I will be looking to score even more next season and further improve as a footballer.”