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INTERVIEW: They’re one of the best things about English football

10 May 2017

Jamie Proctor on the play offs and mangled goal celebrations

Striker Jamie Proctor scored possibly the most important goal of United’s season against Exeter on Saturday but he had to admit afterwards that his celebrations hadn’t quite gone to plan.

Speaking ahead of the Awards Dinner on Sunday evening he said: “I’m a little bit embarrassed in myself about my celebration if I’m being honest. If you look back at what I’ve done in the past, they’ve been different because I’m usually quite muted.

“When I scored the goal I was looking at the pitch for a couple of seconds and for some reason I thought it was wet. We hadn’t had a drop of rain all day so I’m not sure why that went through my head!

“I slid on my knees – or rather I didn’t – and I bounced up. I tried to turn it into a little roly poly which killed the lads behind me because they all followed me. Nicky [Adams] has come off worse than me but it won’t be something I’ll be doing again.”

On bagging the goal in front of the United supporters, he said: “It was special to score that goal in front of all of those away fans. I was saying to the lads after the game that it isn’t the best goal I’ve ever scored but it’s probably the most memorable and the most important.

“Since I’ve been here at the club it’s been brilliant, so to score that goal to get us into the play-offs was special. Everyone here has been great with me and it’s a really great place, so it means a lot for me to score and help the club get into the play-offs.”

Having made the double-header against Exeter following a tough run of results, he said: “If you look back a few weeks, I don’t know if it felt like it had gone after that draw at Crawley but we were all so disappointed.

“It felt like a defeat. We were really down and we didn’t know how we were going to pick ourselves back up. We did always believe that we could get ourselves back in there. After the Newport game we’d put it back into our hands so we started the day in the play-offs on Saturday.

“The goal just before half time killed us, I will say that. No matter who you are you’re always going to say you believe in yourselves, but at half time I think there were a few lads thinking we’d given it our best shot and we could have easily gone under.

“I think we showed the character and quality we’ve got in the squad. We showed real fight and that we aren’t willing to give up, and thankfully we got in there.”

United boss Keith Curle revealed during his post-match interview that Proctor was one of a number of players who had been targeted to produce more as the Blues set out to turn the game on its head.

“The manager did have a few words with me at half time and I expected it, because I knew I wasn’t good enough in the first half,” he commented. “I think it was probably the worst performance I’d put in since I’ve been here, which I was disappointed with because it was a big game and we needed a result.

“Football is about bouncing back and putting it in when it’s needed, as well as responding to criticism in the right way. The gaffer gave me that at half time but he does it in a way that gets it out of you. There are other managers who will criticise you but not get a reaction. 

“The gaffer has done it to players in the past since I’ve been here and it worked with me on Saturday. I don’t mind that. I’ll take it on the chin and accept it if the performance isn’t good enough. To come out in the second half and win the penalty and get the goal meant a lot.”

Social media discussions over recent weeks have pointed at the fact that the fans would like to see him stay beyond the end of the current season and he admitted that comments like that do give a boost to the confidence.

“It’s nice to hear that the fans want me to stay,” he told us. “I don’t see any of that stuff, I’m not on any social media at all, but it’s always nice to hear. Since I’ve been here I’ve put 100% into every game I’ve played because it’s a club that I know means a lot to a lot of people.

“There are so many really good people at the club, the staff are fantastic and I’ve never worked with a group of staff who are so good with the lads. I think that’s why the players want this so much, because we can see that there are so many people in and around the club who deserve the success that we’re hopefully going to get.”

And when pushed on whether or not he would like to return, he said: “I would be interested in coming back next season but it’s a hard question to answer. With any player’s future, you don’t know what’s going to go on.

“I’ve got a year left at Bolton, who have just been promoted to the Championship, and who knows what can happen in football? It can change from one week to the next.”

And as for the play-offs, he said: “They’re one of the best things about English football, in my opinion. Once you’re in there it’s brilliant. The chance to get to Wembley for any player at any level is fantastic. I think we would take a good amount of fans so for us to be in with a chance of doing that is exciting.

“We were having a conversation earlier about how good the fans have been since I’ve been here. They always follow us in their numbers - and I know most people will say that, but they really have. When I came here I didn’t expect the sort of numbers that they travel in, so it’s been brilliant.

“Even last week at Exeter, I know it’s a must win game but it’s still a long way to go. I think it took us nearly ten hours to get down there and the fans are going down and paying their hard earned money to go and watch us. Hopefully they’ll get behind us again in these next two games and give us a right good chance.”

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