Some footballers leave an indellible impression on you. For me, Amos Foyewa is one of them.
I watched Woking FC from a very young age and my final season before moving away to university, 2002/03, was arguably one of the most dramatic in the club's proud history. A wretched run of results (including seven straight defeats in 'Black September') had left the Cards hurtling towards the relegation trap-door. I followed the team home and away but things were getting hard to stomach.
Gradually, manager Glenn Cockerill began to stem the tide by making a number of astute signings. Neil Smith, Raphael Nade - and Foyewa. I once heard the striker described as 'electric' and that's about right. Built like a 100m sprinter, Foyewa was a complete nightmare for defenders: lightning fast, as strong as an ox and boasting the ability to score a goal out of nowhere. A youngster at West Ham and then a fringe player at Bournemouth, Foyewa's initial loan move to Kingfield uncoiled the spring and unleashed am exciting, unpredictable talent on unsuspecting Conference defences.
The survival quest went down to the wire, though. An incredible run of nine straight draws meant Woking's fate was not in their own hands going into the final game of the season at home to Telford United. Foyewa scored, Woking won 3-0 and results elsewhere kept them up.
Foyewa stayed with the club beyond that season, although he didn't often hit the peaks which etched him into Cardinal folklore during that stomach-churning campaign. I never heard much of him after moving on, until I stumbled across a tweet which told me he was now assistant manager at Ryman Premier Division club Aveley. How did he look back on those unforgettable afternoons in red, white and black? I decided to investigate.
Let's start with Woking. How do you look back on your time there?
Yes all the time, I still have my tops at home. It was a great experience for me.
As your Twitter bio says, your goals helped keep them up in 2002/03. What was it like to be part of that 'Great Escape'?
Fantastic. I remember going out onto the pitch that day knowing only a win would keep us up. I was nervous a little but once the whistle went, it was all systems go.
As well as beating Telford, you needed other results to go your way too. Can you remember what the gaffer's pre-game message was?
Pre-game talk was nothing but a win will do. We have to score early to settle the nerves and kill for the cause.
Who was your footballing icon(s) growing up?
Ruud Gullit, Ronaldo, Ian Wright. Jan Molby for Liverpool - probably the best passer ever.
Best manager you've played for - and why?
Colin McBride or Glenn [Cockerill]. They both gave me massive confidence in term of going out and expressing myself.
Tell me about your WFC team-mates, who stands out in your memory?
Warren Patmore because I really enjoyed playing with him. Neil Smith and Scott Canham, who I still speak to.
I think I'm right in saying you broke your leg after moving from West Ham to Bournemouth [in 2001]. How big a setback was that?
That leg break set me back massively because I had been waiting for my opportunity to start. I came on a few time and I looked very dangerous.
How did you find the jump from reserve football at Bournemouth to a fully-blown relegation battle in the Conference?
It was not hard at all. I loved it, the opportunity of playing first-team football. I'm a very confident person. I was young so didn't have to do much but go out out and enjoy playing.
One game really sticks in my mind, the 2-2 draw at Chester. You scored both but Woking threw away two points. Memories of that afternoon?
I will never forget that Chester game. I scored two, got the penalty to make it three and I was stupid to let Willo [Martin Williams] take it and he blazed it over. They could not handle the pace and the directness of me and Raff [Raphael Nade].
Tell us your story after leaving Woking. I know you spent some time at Welling. (This may take up more than one tweet...)
Left Woking and went to Lewes. Worst decision I have ever made. St Albans, won promotion to the Conference with them, then Thurrock and then AFC Hornchurch, then Welling.
Further research revealed Foyewa also served as head coach at Bethnal Green United, before moving on to Aveley. The Essex side are embroiled in a dogfight to stay in the Ryman Premier.
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