Second part of the Jon-Paul McGovern interview

In the second part of our interview with midfielder JP McGovern we asked him about the celebration in front of the Paddock following his stunning volley early in the second half of last Tuesday evening’s JPT home game against Preston.

He said: “I was taking a fair bit of stick from the Paddock in the second half, and that’s fine. People pay their money and I’ve played for long enough to know that it’s part of the game. 

“Some people make sense when they’re shouting and others just shout for the sake of it. Maybe they’re getting a hard time and they come to the football to let off some steam, but it’s genuinely fine with me. 

“I think that goal celebration was a build up of things. I’d been at the train station in Carlisle a few days before the game, with my mum, my dad and my sister, and I was abused by a fan in front of them. I’d then gone to Tesco, and I was abused there as well, and I just think that’s a totally different thing.”

“People pay their money on a Saturday and a Tuesday and they get to say what they want,” he added. “But when it’s away from the football I think it’s pretty hard to take. 

“With the celebration it was probably the case that a bit of frustration came out all at once. If you do have critics then it’s nice to keep them quiet for a little while. I know it doesn’t come across in the best way but sometimes it’s the only way to answer people.”

Pressing him more on the incident at the railway station, he said: “If it was just me who saw it or heard it then I would deal with it. 

“I’m lucky enough to have been in the game for long enough to have learned how to do that, but I’ve never experienced this kind of thing anywhere else to be perfectly honest. 

“I’ve had people come up and talk to me about football and speak to me about different things, but I’ve never had the abuse side of it away from the game. I’ve had it during a match, because that’s all part of it, but the really hard one for me to take was for it to happen in front of my family. 

“It isn’t nice for them to hear and see that. I’m still regarded as the baby in the family, however old I am, and it’s horrible that they had to witness it. I suppose it’s up to me to do something on the pitch which will help to prevent it.”

“Sometimes, though, you just can’t do enough,” he continued. “Maybe it’s just that you’ve picked the wrong day or the wrong person ... like I say, it’s football and I understand that, so it was nice to get the goal and to let off a bit of steam about it all.”

But McGovern was quick to praise the support he’s had from the vast majority of United fans since his arrival at the club just over a year ago.

“I’ve had lots of support, which I appreciate, and I’d like to think I do try to give something back as well,” he said.
“I got a nice award last season for the work I did in the community and that was great to get. It’s always good to go out and speak to people, particularly the kids, and hopefully you can influence them in a way which will benefit everyone. I like to think I do my bit to promote Carlisle United in that way and I do enjoy that side of the job.”

And speaking more about the role the fans can play, he told us: “Whether you get 4,000 or 30,000 you know that every single one of them has a different opinion. 

“My game has never been about getting down the wing at pace. I tend to take a touch and see a pass or a cross. You’ll get people who like that and people who don’t. For my part I’ll do my best for the manager and if I’m achieving that then it’s the main thing.

“I do understand that people pay their money and it costs a lot to come and watch a football game. I’ve got a family myself and I understand that. By the time you travel, park, get the kids something to eat and get into the game you’ve spent a fair bit of cash. 

“It’s bound to be frustrating if you then think a person isn’t giving everything for your team. I understand frustration about that can then lead to some comments being made, but I’m not so sure it should happen after the game.”

“It’s a minority who will carry it on away from the ground, I know that,” he said. “Hopefully the majority feel they can get behind what you do and they’ll also get behind the team. 

“The lads definitely notice the difference when the crowd is behind them, in particular at Brunton Park. If you look at last season and the atmosphere which was in and around the place, it reflected in how well we played. Other teams don’t want to come here when it’s like that so the fans have an important part to play.”

In the final part of this interview, available on the official website on Monday morning, Jon-Paul McGovern talks about his links with a move away from Cumbria during the summer.
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