FOOTBALL: Tulips stalwart hungry to get going

Tough cookie: Gary Pawson (left)
Tough cookie: Gary Pawson (left)
Have your say

THE one player to stick with Spalding United through the misery of the past few seasons is champing at the bit for the new campaign.

Finally, there is some positivity emanating from the Sir Halley Stewart Playing Field – and Gary Pawson can’t wait to be involved again.

The centre-half, who turned 30 on Monday, is excited by the Tulips’ signings so far and reckons they could be the catalyst for better fortunes.

He said: “I’ve played against Liam Harrold before and Simon Mowbray did well for us and against us for Stamford.

“And I’ve been friends with (new player/coach) Danny Hussey for a long time – he’ll certainly get us in shape.”

Pawson is happy that manager Andy Stanhope’s captures in preparation for life back in the United Counties League Premier Division have instilled a lot of enthusiasm.

“I know there are a lot of people looking forward to the season now,” he said. “I just want to be play in some good football matches again.

“I can remember the 0-0 draw we got at Telford, the match at East Thurrock in the FA Cup fourth qualifying round and beating Goole 5-0 at their place – they are the sort of games we want back.”

Pawson is about to embark on his eighth season with the Tulips and, while many might dread the onset of pre-season training, he will be as keen as anyone when it gets under way next Thursday.

A little preparation is the key, according to the Aston Villa fan.

He said: “If you get yourself fit I think you look forward to it, but if you don’t prepare, it can be tough.”

Pawson (left of picture) is confident he won’t be struggling after fighting back to fitness from a knee injury suffered in the 4-0 home defeat by Leek Town on April 2.

He said: “I made a brief comeback in the final match of the season, but that was a mistake.”

However, the former Boston United, Lincoln United and Holbeach United player clocked 40.40mins in the recent Woodhall Spa 10k and has the Mablethorpe Marathon and Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in his sights.

Stanhope’s friendship with Pawson goes back to the Boston United youth team so there are few better qualified to speak about him.

The manager said: “You know what you’re going to get with Gary.

“What he lacks in finesse, he more than makes up for with heart and sticking his head in where it hurts.

“Every team needs a player like Gary in their side.”

Pawson wants to remain club captain but accepts that it might not happen.

He said: “I was proud to be captain last season but Stan has signed a few more experienced players and if he feels there is someone he would rather be captain, I’m not going to throw my toys out of the pram.”

First and foremost the Tulips stalwart will just be content to be handed the number 5 shirt again ahead of a mouthwatering season.