Monday, 16 July 2012


Another summer, another rebuilding job at Stonebridge Road. Several key cogs in the Ebbsfleet United machine of last season are no longer there and manager Liam Daish's recruiting skills have once again been put to the test. Ready to take up centre-forward duties alongside the returning Moses Ashikodi is Nathan Elder, a product of non-league who went on to score Football League goals for Brighton, Brentford, Shrewsbury and Hereford.

Now at his seventh club in five years, Elder has become something of a nomadic figure. Familiar territory for the Fleet. The last two summers heralded the arrival of fellow wanderers Calum Willock and Liam Enver-Marum. Both boasted unquestionable talent but had started to lack direction. Daish showed faith where other managers did not. Both would leave the club with their reputations enhanced and - particularly in Enver-Marum's case - their careers back on track. Now, Elder is set on writing another chapter in that particular success story.

You've just come through your first game as an Ebbsfleet player, a 6-1 friendly win at Tonbridge. How was it?

Yeah, I enjoyed it. It was our first friendly, so we can't read too much into it as it's more about fitness, but showed some really good signs.

Tell us how you ended up signing with the Fleet.

Well, I know a few lads that play for Fleet and they were telling me about the club. I went to have a chat with Liam [Daish] and was really impressed.

What are your first impressions of fellow new signing Moses Ashikodi? Have you come up against him before?

Yeah, I have come up against him a few times before so I know what he's about. He's a goalscorer and a clever player so I know we'll work well.

What's your earliest memory of football?

Probably when I was 12 in my local kids side. I played in defence, kicked it over the opposition, ran on and scored. I was top scorer three years in a row lol.

Who's the best manager you've worked under?

I'd probably say Andy Scott, while I was at Brentford, as we had a good amount of success as a team on and as individuals off the field.

How hot do you have your chicken at Nando's?

Usually either hot or extra hot lol. Pretty much all my family do love hot food.

For those of us who will never be footballers, describe what it's like going into that first pre-season training session after a summer off.

It's exciting, I think, as you always have something to prove to your new team-mates, fans and manager. Nervy though as you've got to get the fitness in and dust the cobwebs off.

You've had a fair few clubs in your career already. Does it get any easier to walk into the changing-room as the 'new boy'?

Yeah, I think it does actually. You get more confident in yourself over the years and a lot of the time you know someone involved in the squad.

So which of the Ebbsfleet lads did you already know? And who are your best friends in football?

I knew Craig Stone and Paul Lorraine as they're ex team-mates of mine. With people in football, there's so many good friends it's hard to say.

What's the toughest ground you've been to as an away player?

When I signed for Brighton, we had an away game against Millwall. I was new to pro football and I remember the atmosphere and fans being CRAZY.

Where is / would be your ideal holiday location? Are you a city boy or a desert island dreamer?

Probably Hawaii or the Caribbean. Love a little desert island getaway as when I'm at home, I'm a proper city boy.

For Ebbsfleet fans who haven't seen you in action, what sort of player should they expect to see this season?

They'll definitely see a lot of aggression and effort from me. I am 27 and a bit of a senior player in the team, so a bit of leadership as well.

Of all your team-mates, past and present, who is/was the fastest, the biggest joker, the hard man and the biggest moaner?

GREAT question lol. Fastest is Myles Weston at Brentford, biggest joker and all-round child is Glenn Poole, hard man was probably Danny Kedwell. There's a lot of contestants for biggest moaner, but I think my old team-mate Adam Newton takes it. He moaned so much we nicknamed him Grandad.

Have you caught the Olympic bug yet?

Yeah, I think I have actually. I'm looking forward to it. Been on a tour of the Olympic Park and it looks amazing.

Got tickets? Or one particular event you're excited about?

No, got no tickets. My mum's actually working for them during the Games, so was hoping she'd hook me up, but no joy. I love watching the sprinting.

Who are the best players you've played with and against?

I played with Nicky Forster at Brighton and he was truly a natural-born goalscorer. His movement and touch was frightening. I learnt a lot just from training with him. Playing against was definitely [David] Wetherall, who was a centre-back for Bradford years ago. He literally marked me off the pitch. Everything I tried to do he stopped. Was a nightmare lol.

Finally, what are your hopes and dreams for the season ahead - both individually and for the Fleet?

For me personally, I want to be Fleet's main striker and get back to being happy playing games again. For the Fleet, I'm hoping for a good cup run and also a good play-off spot. The Conference is a very tough league with some massive clubs in it, but I think we can be the surprise team.

You can follow @BigElds on Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment