Friday, 9 March 2012

TWINTERVIEW: Frannie Collin

The footballing phrase 'hot property' is thrown around willy-nilly these days, but when it comes to non-league goalscorers, Tonbridge Angels frontman Frannie Collin definitely qualifies. With 24 league goals already against his name this season, the 24-year-old has been one of the main reasons for the Angels' confident start to life in Conference South following their promotion from the Ryman League.

Collin, who played for Andy Hessenthaler at Gillingham and Dover Athletic, is now thriving under the management Tommy Warrilow at Longmead. A scorer of spectacular goals and something of a penalty specialist, his transition into Conference football seems to have been effortless.

I interviewed Collin twice during my time in Kent. His confidence, so evident on the pitch, shone through when he spoke. Inevitably, talk tended to turn to his future, a possible return to the Football League and whether he would be tempted away from Tonbridge. However, Warrilow's faith in him as a player, giving him the licence to play a free role, was repaid with another show of loyalty in February, when Collin signed a contract which will keep him at Longmead until the end of the 2012/13 season.

Time to catch up with the division's leading marksman, I thought.

What's your earliest memory of football?

Probably Eric Cantona running games at Old Trafford. What a presence!!

Who's the best football pundit on TV or radio at the moment?

Got to be Paul Merson for a bit of banter. Gary Neville is too serious for me.

What goal target did you set youurself at the start of this season?

Don't set personal targets. Just wanted to better last season.

Best players you've played with and against?

Played with - Matty Jarvis. Against - Wayne Rooney.

Your Twitter bio tells me you're a plasterer. Has the club ever called on your services to do some work at Longmead?

Yeah, that's right. Funnily enough, the club built an extension to the changing-rooms in the summer and I got overlooked for the plastering.

Are you a better footballer or plasterer?

If you ask my dad, who I work with, he'd definitely say footballer.

You signed a new contract earlier this year. Was that just to put an end to all the transfer speculation?

Possibly helped stop it, but I always wanted to stay regardless.

The Conference South title race just got interesting. How do you see it going between now and April?

Quite a few twists and turns left to come, my money's still on Woking though.

What's the best pre-game food?

Bit posh but my missus's eggs benedict for me!!

Toughest place you've been to as an away player?

Toughest crowd was definitely Millwall!! Nasty!!

You've spent much of your career with two managers. How are Andy Hessenthaler and Tommy Warrilow similar, and how are they different?

Both are proper winners and hate losing!! Tom is more of a mate and that's why the players love to play for him!

Best friends in football?

Lee Browning, Jon Wallis and Danny Walder.

Do you read the papers when you're making the headlines? What about fans forums?

I try not to because it can get you down. I know if I've played bad and don't really need to be told.

Best goal you've scored?

Probably say the Salisbury goal this season.

NOTE: It really is a belter. Skip to 04.55 in the video clip.

Imagine you're the gaffer and money's no object. Which Conference South player would you sign for Angels?

The best player I've played against this year is Paris Cowan-Hall at Woking.

Team-mate questions: Who's the joker, who's the best trainer, who's the slowest?

Joker - Lee Browning. Best trainer - Sonny Miles. Slowest - sorry Schulzy [Olly Schulz]!!

Finally - you've got one tweet to tell the world about Tonbridge Angels. Go...

Alex O'Brien's windmills are a sight to see!! ;-)

You can follow @10_frannie on Twitter

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