‘Leav­ing Hayes a big mis­take’

Pro­lific striker says he should have stayed an­other sea­son FOOT­BALL

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT - By Jon Batham jon.batham@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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