‘Leaving Hayes a big mistake’
Prolific striker says he should have stayed another season FOOTBALL
Mendy first shot to prominence at Farm Park when, as a teenager, he hit 28 goals in 39 appearances for the then Southern League Central outfit in 2012-13.
With bigger teams sniffing around, the youngster was persuaded by those in his advisory team to move higher up the pyramid to clubs such as Maidenhead and Slough.
AFC, beaten 4-1 on Saturday in a Combined Counties Premier clash at Raynes Park Vale, suffered in the absence of their talisman, eventually being relegated in 2014-15. For Mendy too, the moves proved a false dawn as he struggled for minutes on the pitch.
Now back scoring goals at step four with promotion chasing Chalfont, he admits it was a harsh lesson and while he remains ambitious, this time he will be serving his apprenticeship properly before moving up again.
He said: “AFC Hayes was my first proper year of men’s football, I was 19 at the time. If I had that time again I would have stayed another season at this level because as they say a young footballer only improves by playing games, not by sitting on a bench. So I almost went from improving to going backwards.
“What I’m saying is the best thing for me at the moment is to stay here and learn my trade rather than be the person who started here, then went there and then ended up all over the place.”
The episode has taught Mendy he needs to be more responsible for his own career, rather than being carried along by the hype or ambitions of others.
“I didn’t make those decisions for myself,” he added. “It was more like I chose them for other people rather than looking at what was best for me to go forward as a young footballer. That is one thing I have learned through it all that I need to be more in charge of the situation rather than leaving it to others.
“At the end of the day it is me who wants to do well at football and not them. I’m still ambitious and I want to go further, but I’m not in football for the money.
“I would rather be coached than paid a lot of money to sit on the bench.” THINGS are looking up off the field for both Hayes & Yeading United and Northwood.
United have long been looking to move back into the borough and have now completed the installation of seats in the main stand at their Beaconsfield Road base.
Hayes & Yeading chief Garry Haylock said: “We train at the ground and it’s easy for the players to see what improvements are made. Whenever there is a step taken, it brings us a little bit closer.
“The players can get excited about that. It looks like a professional club and we’ll have fantastic facilities when everything is complete.
“We’re still not there yet but every step taken is another step closer.
“The view has always been that because it has had so many issues that if you put a date on that it is setting people up for disappointment.
“Work continues and we want to be in as soon as possible. It has got to be done in a calm and reasonable way.”
Meanwhile, Northwood this week threw open the doors of their new clubhouse at Chestnut Avenue following an extensive refurbishment.
The new facilities will be open from 4pm to 11pm each weekday and have plans to offer bar snacks in the near future as the Woods look to increase their connection with the local community.
There was worse news on the field for Northwood and boss Mark Burgess on Saturday though as they exited the FA Trophy following a 3-1 loss to Bedford Town.
They were last night (Tuesday) due in derby action against Uxbridge in the Southern League Division One Central.
n LEARNING CURVE: Tony Mendy during his playing days with AFC Hayes