Michael Nelson Interview

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Michael John Nelson was born in Gateshead on the 28th March 1980, Nelson started his playing career as a semi-professional with Spennymoor United and Bishop Auckland before being given a trial by Hartlepool United.

However it was Bury manager Andy Preece that gave him is first professional contract were he become a defensive first choice alongside Danny Swailes.

During his first season, Nelson suffered what he described as ‘‘the worst injury of his career’’ after suffering several cracked ribs and a collapsed lung. He had to have a drain inserted into his chest for several days while he was hospitalised.

Nelson’s second season at Gigg Lane was his best as he was named club captain and the team reached the third division play-off’s, whilst manager Andy Preece hailed him as “the best centre-half in Division Three, he also won all of the club’s player of the year awards.

A transfer to Hartlepool United followed for £70,000 and Nelson repaid the fee on his debut with an excellent 30-yard goal.

There was an issue at the club in the 2004-05 season, when rumor’s that Hull City were interested in signing him, Michael handed in a transfer request, which triggered a feud between Nelson’s agent and the club chairman.

Nelson withdrew his transfer request and he went on to sign a new three-year contract in 2006, he was also named in the PFA team of the year at the end of that season.

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Spells at both Norwich City and Scunthorpe United followed before a transfer to Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock in January 2012. Nelson then played in the Scottish Cup Final in March as Kilmarnock beat Celtic to win the cup.

After one year at Kilmarnock there was another move for Nelson this time back to England to join Bradford City on an 18-month deal.

Just four months after signing for City, Nelson was an unused sub at Wembley as Bradford won the Sky Bet League Two Play-Off Final.

Nelson then had spell at Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League for one year, before joining Cambridge United where he finished last season.

After a short trial this summer Michael Nelson has joined “Mad Dog” Allen at Barnet on a one-year deal after the club regained their football league status.

Interview

Who was your biggest influence in football?

My biggest influence in football when I was young would have to be my parents for taking me to all the training sessions and matches.

As I got older it was probably Martin Allen when he was my reserve team manager at Portsmouth, he was the first person in the game to show real belief in my ability to play professionally.

What is your best football highlight?

My best highlight is tough to split between winning the Scottish league cup with Kilmarnock and winning the league 1 title with Norwich City. I would probably say the league 1 title with Norwich City as I was there for the full season with the club.

What is your football lowlight?

My football lowlight would be losing in the playoff final against Sheffield Wednesday back in 2005 with Hartlepool. I have suffered relegation as well but we were so close to winning that game and getting promoted the feeling at the end was awful.

League Debut?

My league debut was for Bury against Wycombe back in 2001, it was 28th April to be exact. I remember the date as it’s my wife’s birthday (girlfriend back at the time). I scored; as well in a 1-1 draw I was only on trial at the time and still working during the week as a blind fitter.

Best Goal You Scored?

My best goal technically would have to be my scissor kick for Norwich against Hartlepool but my favorite would have to be the goal away at Charlton for Norwich to seal promotion to the championship.

Toughest Opponent?

The toughest opponent I’ve faced would probably be Robin van Persie in the FA cup last season while at Cambridge. His movement and all round play is excellent.

Who is the best manager you have played for and why?

The best manager I’ve played for would have to be Paul Lambert during my time at Norwich. There was just something about him, which allowed him to get the best out of players and even get players to perform at a higher standard than people expected of them.

Who was the best player you played with and why?

A toss up between Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan at Norwich City. Holty scored a ridiculous amount of goals during his time at Norwich but Wes was and still is a genius on the ball. He can change the game in an instant so I’ll go with Wes Hoolahan.

How has the game changed from when you started your career?

The game has changed quite a bit since I first started. It’s not quite as physical now as it used to be, purely because you can’t get away with as much now.

It is more of a technical game now with more passes being made and more varied systems being used. I also think that players are more athletic and explosive now.

If you could change one rule in football, what would it be and why?

Receiving yellow cards for over celebrating a goal. Just let the player and all involved enjoy the moment.

Having played in both the England and Scottish leagues is there a big difference in quality between the two leagues?

I would say in my experience that there isn’t a noticeable difference between playing in England and Scotland.

When it becomes time to hang up your boots, will you stay in football as a coach or manager or will you start a new career in another industry?

I currently have my UEFA B license and I’m looking to do my UEFA A license as soon as possible so hopefully I will be able to stay in the game.

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