‘No time for the beautiful game’
Veteran defender says United need to be battle ready
Injuries and suspensions saw the former Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday defender surrounded by three debutants and others young enough to be his children as they crashed 3-0 away at fellow Conference South strugglers Wealdstone on Monday night.
All three goals came in a horrendous first 21 minutes for United and the defeat followed a similarly damaging loss at home to relegation-haunted St Albans on Saturday.
Veteran Purse’s fatherly advice to new recruits Luke Ifil, Kyle Clinton, Aaron Tumwa and others is they had better get some warpaint on their fresh faces – and quickly.
“Football is not game,” he said.
“Every time you walk out on that pitch I wouldn’t say you are going to war, but you are going into battle against somebody who is playing against you.
“You look at U21 matches and development matches and they are very pretty.
“It is about getting the ball down and playing, but it doesn’t prepare you for Championship, League One or League Two football, never mind Conference
pretty South football. You need to roll your sleeves up sometimes and invariably the team that works hardest in a football match will win a football match.
“That’s what we haven’t done the last couple of games, where we have been bullied by more experienced sides.
“When you are a young lad coming in, if someone is wor working harder than you you need to look in the mirror and thin think ‘is football the right career for m me?’
““I think a lot of players have got to do that.”
W With that warning voiced, the 39-year-old, whose league car career of nearly 600 games als also included stints at Leyton Or Orient, Cardiff and Oxford, str struck a more positive note.
P Prior to this week’s events, Un United had lost just one game in seven, a run including vic victories over Oxford City, Weston-Super-Mare and Whitehawk, plus draws at leaders Ebbsfleet and pr promotion-chasing Dartford.
Purse says the key to that ru run was a settled side and with regulars like Jordan Brown and Manny Williams expected to return over the next couple of games, he remains confident United will avoid the drop.
“We are in a massive relegation battle,” he said.
“But I know when we have got our best eleven out with everyone fit we are a match for anybody in this league, because the nucleus of the team is decent and with it we will pick up points and stay up.
“Hopefully we can get back to that team sooner rather than later, because if we lose one or two from that side and have to carry people then it makes it difficult.”
Meanwhile, it was a bad weekend for the Southern League sides as Uxbridge were beaten by St Ives Town, while Northwood lost at home to Egham. AFC Hayes lost 4-3 in a Combined Counties Premier thriller with Raynes Park Vale. RUISLIP boxer Luke Robinson made his first steps into the professional sport by producing a knockout performance in his maiden bout.
With a successful amateur career behind him, there have been high hopes for the 24-year-old – and he did not struggle to live up to them at York Hall.
“I feel like I’ve landed on my feet,” said Robinson after the fight. “It was great that my friends and family made the effort to come o overer and cheer me on and meant the world to me.
“I’ve been really lucky to have some local businesses offer to sponsor me and help support my career and with such a good team around me I am hoping it’s only a matter of time before I start to bring titles back to Ruislip.”
Backed by a loud set of supporters who had made the trip over to Bethnal Green, the light heavyweight took only one round to defeat experienced Hungarian opponent Tamas Dank.
A solid debut saw Robinson utilise the skills that had served him so well in amateur boxing and he looked just as comfortable under the bright lights along with the pressures that it brings.
He has signed professional terms with Goodwin Promotions and plans a career that he hopes will see him bring titles back to the area.
Robinson looks to continue his impressive form back at York Hall on July 1 and tickets can be purchased at www.iboxingtickets.com.
n STRUGGLERS: Wealdstone’s Matty Harriott takes on Hayes & Yeading during his side’s 3-0 victory; (below) experienced United defender Darren Purse Photo by Alan Palmer Photography