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Nicky Forster On Reading, Goalscoring And Life After Football

Nicky Forster On Reading, Goalscoring And Life After Football

An interview with Nicky Forster, by Callum McFadden for WFi.

You started your professional career at Gillingham and were a prolific goalscorer at the club, how do you look back on that time because I imagine it’s a real positive for you.

“It is, yeah. I mean, looking back, it’s difficult because it was such a long time ago now.

“The club at the time was going through a real lull, right on the bottom of going out of the football league, which would possibly have put the club out of existence.

“I didn’t fully grasp the impact at that age, but I just played with freedom and enjoyed every moment of it.”

You had a lot of interest in you with the number of goals that you scored. You were scoring during your time at Gillingham, but your next club was Brentford, where you go and again make a big impact. What was it about Brentford and yourself that just seemed to click?

“From the moment that I got there, it just clicked on and off the pitch. Success breeds togetherness, and we had a hungry team that worked hard for each other.

“We managed to achieve success despite operating on a smaller budget. It was a great time for me.”

You represented England under-21s on four occasions and scored one goal, what was your experience like at international level? How did it compare to club level?

“It was completely different because I was playing alongside bigger names such as David Beckham and testing myself against top international talent from countries such as Brazil and France.

“Overall, it was a great learning curve and a fantastic experience for me to be able to represent my country.”

Moving on to your time at Reading, a club you’ve spoken very highly of. What does the club mean to you, and how do you reflect on your time there?

“Reading was like home to me. I spent six years there, the longest I’ve been with any club.

“It was a period of happiness and success, despite dealing with injuries.

“Alan Pardew and Steve Coppell were both great managers to work under.”

“Alan Pardew was upbeat and enthusiastic. Everyone had to, you know, buy into his style of play.

“He drove people alongside him and as a team, we rode the crest of the wave with him as our manager.

“He came into a club that was failing and struggling and turned it around and got everyone on board. That is not an easy thing to do.

“Steve was completely different, much more quiet, much more low-key.

“He was a font of knowledge and when he spoke, you listened, even if he didn’t like what he said. I actually disagree with him too often even if he was being critical of me because he knew the game inside out.

“Overall, both of them had their strengths and were instrumental in the success of the team.”

As well as playing the game, you also had experience in management with Brentford, Dover Athletic and Staines Town as well. In terms of your coaching experiences, was it hard to transition into that role?

“No, I didn’t find it too hard in terms of the transition, but I didn’t find it the most inspiring thing to do so I ultimately decided that it probably wasn’t the right thing for me to continue with.

“I liked the psychology of it, I liked working with players and I liked managing people, but I wasn’t enough of a student of the game to stay in it for any longer than I did.

“I had spent 20-odd years travelling around the country and I didn’t want to keep travelling around like that as a coach after a career as a player.”

Finally, Nicky, a lot of former players have struggled to adapt to life after football. How have you adapted to life following retirement and moving away from coaching?

“I’ve stayed active and involved in goal-setting coaching, mentoring players, and teaching others about achieving their goals in my role as a goal-setting coach.

“I also make sure that I stay active with running and cycling.

“Funnily enough, I rarely look back on my career, but I do enjoy reflecting on my career during interviews like these.”