STARTING ALL OVER
How Sam Slocombe’s recovered from a bad break at Oxford United
YOU never know what’s around the corner in football – but Sam Slocombe couldn’t have envisaged 2015 taking the turns it has.
A hometown hero, Slocombe was Scunthorpe United’s club captain and undisputed number one. An educated man with a foundation degree from the University of Lincoln, Slocombe seemed to have it all and many expected the shotstopper to spend the best years of his career between the posts at Glanford Park.
But on January 17, Slocombe and fellow goalkeeper James Severn both suffered broken arms during a bizarre League One match with Bristol City, with the former snapping his ulna after awkwardly punching a ball to safety.
That was to be the 27-year-old’s final game for the club he had spent the last seven years playing for, with Iron boss Mark Robins making the decision not to renew his captain’s contract.
Slocombe told The FLP:“I was a little bit disappointed not to be involved in match day squads towards the end of the season. It was my hometown club, we had grown over the past few years as a
squad and it was an honour to become club captain.”
But they say that every cloud has a silver lining and a move to Oxford United, albeit a division lower, has got his juices flowing.
“Football is strange; you can only play for the teams that want to sign you,” said Slocombe.“I felt I needed a change and it was a good time for me career-wise and for my partner with some great work opportunities for her.
“People might think it’s a step down for me but the quality we have in the squad and the project the club have over the next few years could see us knocking on the door at the top end of League One.
“I don’t know whether I would still be at Scunthorpe if I hadn’t been injured, but it happens in football and you have to accept it. At the age of 27, it’s a good time to go and see a different part of the country and experience something different.
“It’s easier to walk away when you know you have other options and people want you. If it was later on in my career it could have been different because you’re not looking at a club change, you could be looking at a career change.”
And Slocombe is getting to understand how manager Michael Appleton operates as he beds in at the U’s. He added:“I’m always waiting for the gaffer to blow his top a bit more because he always looks like he will, but he doesn’t!
“He’s very calm and collected but he doesn’t pull any punches. If he thinks you’re not playing well, he’ll tell you.”
WAY FORWARD: Sam Slocombe in his new colours and, inset, saving for Scunthorpe against Blackburn