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INTERVIEW: I just want to enjoy it

Tomas Holy on signing for the Blues

10 June 2022

Keeper Tomas Holy became United’s second summer signing yesterday, and his first interview was clearly brimming with excitement as he spoke to us about the challenge ahead.

The 30-year-old heads north on a two-year deal, with one of his top priorities now the search for a new base as he looks to relocate to the area.

“I wouldn’t say that it’s taken a while, it’s come from very direct, honest negotiation and it’s been good,” he said. “I got a call on Sunday from Greg [Abbott], then straight after that with the manager, and then I spoke to Gez [Paul Gerrard] the keeper coach, and I was really impressed with everything they all said.

“It all sounded good to me so it was up to the club and my agent to make it happen. I know it’s coming to League Two but that doesn’t matter having spoken to all of the people involved and with what they told me.

“Plus, I have to say last season was kind of miserable for me personally, so there weren’t any second thoughts. I just want to play football again and I think that even at my age, I still have a lot of love, passion and enthusiasm in me.

“I just want someone to give me the chance to show that and the gaffer has said that he wants it to be him. Let’s crack on, let’s do it.”

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“I don’t go anywhere just be stuck somewhere,” he added. “I go to fight for results and for promotion, that’s always my target. It’s as simple as that.

“Playing football is what I want to be doing. Money is nice, of course, but when I started playing football as a little kid I played because I love it.

“I still do, even though I need to sleep somewhere and eat, so it’s about making a living as well. I want to enjoy the passion and the atmosphere out on the pitch, and not on the bench or from the stand.

“And with it being a two-year deal it makes me calm. I can stop thinking about where I’m going to be, or is this or that going to happen, and is it going to be good.

“Now I know I’m safe and in a very good place, and now I can make another step forward and get sorted with moving here, and stuff like that, so I’m ready for the new season.”

And he confirmed that his next task having completed the formalities was to get around the city in search of his new home.

“I’m really looking forward to that because I have no idea what this place is like,” he told us. “It’s close to Scotland and if I’m being very honest, the Scottish accent sometimes gets me.

“My first coach at Ipswich was Paul Lambert, a pure Scottish guy, so I was struggling. If that accent is around this place as well it will be fun, I guess.

“With Gillingham, Cambridge and Ipswich I’ve very much been down south, but it’s not something that bothers me.

“North, south, east, west - the only thing that matters is that this is the place where I want to be. It is where it is.

“One thing I have said is that I’m glad Exeter got promoted, because that would have been a heck of a journey, but it’s all part of football.

“I’m just really excited and looking forward to working with Gez, the manager and the coaching staff. I’m looking forward to seeing the boys and from what I’ve heard I believe this is going to be a good season and I want to be part of that.”

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Obviously United’s priority after the arrival of Paul Simpson at the end of February was survival, achieved in style as the Blues went on an impressive run, but the big stopper insisted that it feels different this time round.

“They definitely don’t want to be fighting to stay in the division again this time,” he commented. “I know they want to fight for promotion and that’s why I want to be part of this club.

“We never know, nobody knows, but I can speak for myself and I know I’ll do my best on and off the pitch. Hopefully there will be a whole bunch of players singing the same note.”

That always horrible question – for those who haven’t seen him play, what does he bring to the team?

“Obviously I’m tall, so I try to dominate the box,” he explained. “I have to say, that isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

“Opponents will focus on things like set pieces and if they know it’s a massive goalkeeper they’ll look to stop him from coming out.

“People sometimes don’t realise that when you have three, four or five bodies around you it isn’t easy to move, but I’ll always try to fight my way through.

“Because of my size I enjoy the one against one situations, and my kicks could be useful as well.

“The things I don’t feel I’m as strong with I work on, in terms of footwork and other types of distribution. I love working on things and improving.

“I know we have Gabe [Breeze] and Scott [Simons] who are into their first year, and as long as they are willing to listen I will try to help.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be any kind of smarty pants or anything like that, and I’m not the type to be constantly telling they should do this or that.

“I’ll speak from experience, and what I’ve done before, and if I can see that they’re doing something I think is wrong, I’ll try to help.

“When I spoke to Greg I told him that I’ll be their big brother, and I’ll do as much as I can. If they want to listen to me I think it will be good. If not, it’s then not my problem.

“I’ve met Gabe and from the first impressions I think he’s a great guy. I think it will be a great friendship and I will do my best to look after them.”

Looking back at his career, having started with Hradlec Klove and Sparta, we wondered if coming to England had always been the aim.

“It was actually my whole life’s dream, to go to England,” he admitted. “Honestly, I got to a point where I never thought it would happen.

“Actually, when I was 15 I was with the Arsenal academy for a trial and I hoped there might be something there for me.

“At the time it was decided that I was way too young to make a change like that happen. As the years went by it felt like it was getting even more difficult and it was like I was stuck in the Czech leagues.

“Then, when I was 25, my agent’s colleague gave him a call about Gillingham, and they both made it happen. I was flying in the sky, to be fair. I was buzzing.

“It went really well for me at Gillingham, as I say I give my best for every team, and sometimes it works when other times it doesn’t.

“Ipswich was maybe wrong time, wrong place, I don’t know. That’s all in the past, it’s a new chapter, a fresh start, and I will be doing everything I can to get back to my best, as it was at Gillingham.”

But does he ever get bored about answering questions about how tall he is?

“Yes, yes … people ask me all the time!” he commented. “But don’t worry, just keep asking me.

“I was banging my head on door tops from about 14, and I still do that. The hotel I’m staying in has a low ceiling so I’m constantly bending over to avoid getting bumps on my head.

“I just have to be careful. And, do you know, I wasn’t always going to be a keeper. I became a goalkeeper at around the age of 13, maybe that time, but before that I was an outfield player.

“Actually I got bored, so I went outfield again, but when everybody was running I found that I was miles behind. I got sick of that so I went back to being a keeper again. I think it’s good that I stuck there.”

Looking forward, to his next two years, he said: “You know what, I just want to be happy.

“I want to be out there, playing football. I just want to enjoy it. As much as I don’t want this to be how it is, my career won’t last too much longer, because I’m not 20 anymore, and that’s why I see the next two seasons as a huge opportunity for me.

“I’m going to be enjoying football again, and I think that as long as I’m enjoying it, we’ll get results.”

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