Joe interviews Young Tom

Joe interviews Young Tom

Since the advent of the internet, and in particular web 2.0 forums and micro-blogging sites, the way we discuss footballing matters has changed.

It doesn’t seem long ago that you went to the match, discussed it in the pub afterwards, revelled in the details when the Green ‘Un dropped at the newsagents… and that was pretty much it.

Now there are constant news feeds, irrelevant and often unfounded rumours, arguments and opinions of 140 characters or less 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Indeed, the very reason for this article is to provide fellow fans a bit of reading material through the barren weeks of close season.

I’m a traditionalist at heart though, and although the Green ‘Un has sadly disappeared from the corner shop counter, I do enjoy picking the match apart in the pub after the game… and especially so with my 9 year old son Tom.




I’m intrigued about his take on the game, his favourite players, his take on tactics and substitutions.

So as the season has drawn to a close I thought I’d get his opinion of the season gone by.

Armed with a note book full of questions we took ourselves off to the man cave to chew the fat.

Tom at the SWFC Training Ground (JL)

Tom had just enjoyed a week at the Owls training ground attending the club’s holiday camp, winning player of the week for his troubles, so was understandably full of beans as I told him we were off to talk football in the shed.

I’ve tried to keep the responses as true to his answers as possible.



JL: What’s your team of the season? 

Tom: “Well, obviously Westwood in net. Then in defence I’d have Jack Hunt, Lees, Hutchinson and Pudil. He pauses looking down at the Subbuteo pieces that he’s using to sort his thoughts out. No wait, I need Hutchinson in midfield. Loovens, Hunt, Lees and Pudil.”

Why do you need Hutch in midfield? 

“Well, he’s an aggressive player and you need to have aggressive players. But he can get booked a lot and sent off but not that much these days.”

Why do you need aggressive players? Isn’t that dirty? 

“Well it can be dirty if you push people or kick them when you can’t get the ball, but you sometimes need to have a strong tackle or… erm… like if a player is really good like Knockaert you need to do a hard tackle and like make him scared of being passed the ball.”

Ok, so Hutch in midfield then. 

“Can I put him just there?” (pulls the little figure back into a deep CM role)

Master tactician (JL)


“And then it would be Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee, but I want Kieran Lee like a bit more forward. Like, just in front and to the side for a bit, but like he can come back to help.

Then it would be Stephen Fletcher up front, and then Ross Wallace on the right wing and Reach on the left wing.”

That’s interesting…

“Why?” (looking suspiciously at my wry smile)

Who’s your favourite player? 


And then? 

Rhodes: benched

“Foresti……Oh! No wait… Not Reach, Forestieri there.”

We study the formation and line up for a while, then I ask: So what about Rhodes? Hooper? Winnall? 

“Can I have a subs bench?”

Go for it… 

“So I’d have Hooper… Nuhiu… erm… Jones… Wildsmith… how many’s that? (counts his fingers) erm… Adam Reach… defenders?”

Well you could have Sasso, Palmer, Fox… 

“Palmer… (checks fingers again) and… …Winall.”

So no Rhodes? 

“What…? no…. erm…”

You don’t have to put him in… remember that this is team of the season so it’s about who you think has done the best, not necessarily covering all positions. 

(He looks quizzically… this obviously doesn’t sit well with a boy so well versed with FIFA 17)

And no Abdi? 

“Augh! (he lets out a disgruntled grump at not being allowed a 10 man bench) No… I’ll leave it.”

No Rhodes then? 

“Can I have him instead of Winnall?”

Yep… So is Nuhiu a better option than Winnall? 

“Well sometimes you need him to like, do headers and things at the end of the game.”

Does that mean he’s had a better season than Rhodes or Winnall? 

(Looks confused again)

Shall we leave it?  You happy with your team? 




He seemed a bit shell shocked at the level of questioning at this point so we cleared the Subbuteo players and had a game of pool.

Weather had been kind to us over the half term, so it was also a cue to crack a late afternoon beer in preparation for the inevitable barbeque (again) tea.

Midway through the game I notice he’s relaxed a little so begin the quickfire questions.

Who was your player of the season? 

“Westwood… he just keeps us in the match. At the beginning of the season he let quite a few in and we had to score more back but then he got better again and pulled some good saves off.”

Big player

Who should we sell? 

“Maybe Jones… maybe Dawson because he doesn’t really get to play that much.”

What about if we sold, lets say, Forestieri… Who should we sign to replace him? 

(A concerned and slightly troubled look crosses his face) “For how much though?”

Let’s say £6m… 

“I was thinking £6m in my head (pauses for thought)… how much do we have?!”

Money’s no object… but the target needs to be realistic. 

“Well I liked Ighalo who was at Watford. I’m really impressed by him. And I’m thinking Gradel from Bournmouth on left wing.”

His knowledge takes me aback… is this the result of Match Attax cards or FIFA or something?! I even had to check the spelling on Google.

Target man?

How do you know about him? 

“I’ve seen him play a lot and he’s a talented player.”

The boy clearly must have seen something when he gets up way before me on a Sunday morning and watches Match of the Day… maybe he’s a potential future scout… or maybe he’s bulls***ing me.

Ok… moving on.  What was the best game? 

“Definitely Bristol City. Brilliant game. Because we were losing and we came back to win with like 20 seconds left. It was awesome. One of the best games I’ve ever seen!”

And the worst? 

(thinks hard) “Could it be Burton?  When we lost… was it 2-1… or 2-0? It was a bad game anyway.”

Best memory? 

“The 5-1 against Norwich.  It was just awesome. It was like Goooaaal. And then sit down a minute and then Gooooalll and then wait a minute and then Gooaaaal!”

Best Goal? 

Wallace from the half way line. It was a really talented goal. I don’t know how he does such a skillful shot to get it over the defenders and everything from there.

Best song? 

I like “We’re on our way”.


“I like to make up my own words like ‘How do we get there? In a car. When will we get there? It’s not far'”

Hmmm, alright then.  Best atmosphere? 

“Huddersfield, when we scored I think. Or actually Fulham on the last day because it was packed, and I got an inflatable banana and we won.”

No we didn’t…

“Didn’t we?”

No it was when we played our resereves… Winnall scored and then… 

“Ohhhh yeah.  I think I got confused because everyone was still happy…”

What is your favourite non-Wednesday kit? (an important question for a young boy)

“Brighton’s away kit.  It’s like yellow…. I just like the colour of it.”

How do you feel about Carlos staying? 

“Very happy,  I think we’ll give him another year.

“He’s a brilliant manager and brought us a long was from being like 18th all the time and he’s brought us into the play offs.

“And even though he hasn’t won at Wembley or in the semi-finals he’s brought us a long way.”

One happy man

Remember when Stevie May was your favourite player? 

“Yeah…” (giggles in embarrassment)

What should he do differently next season? 

“I kind of like his tactics but everyone has copied them. I’d like to go back to playing more like in 2016.”

Who will go up next season? 

“Sheffield Wednesday (immediate answer)… Middlesborough and… who came down?”

Hull and Sunderland… 


Really? Do you not think they over achieved last season? 

“No. I think they deserved promotion.”


“Because they played good. I think they deserved it because they worked hard.”

Will hard work be good enough next season? 

“I think it could. I was going to say Sunderland but they’ve lost Defoe, and Reading have Al Habsi who was a very good keeper last season.”

You were 3 when we were last in the same league as United, so you’ve never been to a Sheffield derby.  Are you looking forward to it? 

“Yes!! (almost salivating). I can’t wait to play them. They’ve got a good squad but they’re our rivals. They’ve got good players like Billy Sharp. I’m excited to play them but I think they’ll be mid-table or go down.”

What will the scores be?  

“I think 2-0 or 3-1…

What about at their ground? 

“Hmmm maybe 1-1…”

Who’s got the best hairstyle? 

“(Laughs) Erm… I kind of like Kieran Lee’s.”

Who’s the nicest player you’ve met? 

“I’d say Matias was really friendly, and so was Glenn Loovens. And they always have a smile on their face every time I see them.”

If Loovens left, who should be captain? 

“Tom Lees or Sammy.

“Sam makes people carry on and he makes them play good in a sense.

“He’s got quite a lot of aggression. But Lees is just a really good captain.

“It will suit him. He looks like he’ll be a captain in the future.

“He’s only scored one or two goals for us but that’s because he’s a defender.”

Time to wrap it up… if you think about the Championship last season… if you could sign any three players at the beginning of last season, that would have guaranteed promotion: who would they have been?”


Yes, from the Championship. 

(Without a second thought) “Knockaert, Mooy and Gayle.”

Who’s she? 

“Hahahaha… that’s what Sam Hutchinson said. I always sign those three on FIFA and win the league. Every time.”



So there you have it.

Out of the mouth of babes, all our problems can be solved.

Like I said, I always find his opinions interesting.

I appreciate that a lot of them are probably based on what he hears me and the mates talking about in the pub, but he’s really starting to form his own opinions.

And that is essentially what being a football fan is all about, isn’t it?

So, we’ll count down the days and weeks and hours of close season.

Check the fixtures at 10am on release day.

Attend a pre-season game full of unwarranted excitement.

Buy the crap new kit on launch day.

Get excited at signing that out-of-contract-premiership-outcast from out of the blue.

Marvel at the lush new pitch in the August sun.

Remain pissed off by the service at the kiosk.

But, most importantly, enjoy another season of one of the most special relationships… that between a father, his son, and their team.




Owls Alive
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @GrenoOwl

Images: SWFC, unless stated.

One Comment

  1. Always interested to read someone elses perspective

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