Many of us enjoy visiting our local non-league club at the weekend and during the week. We finish work, watch the match and head home ready for a new day. But what about the players who have to fit in their work commitments around the football? How do they do it?
The Echo will be speaking to non-league stars from across south Essex this season about how they juggle two of life’s most crucial aspects – work and football.
This week we speak to former Colchester United man and current Canvey Island winger JACK SIMMONS, 20, who is a Wales under-19 international from Wickford, who used to go to Beauchamps High School in the town.
I try to have a lie in and relax in the morning before a game so I am normally up around 10am. I chill out, watch Soccer AM and have some food.
We are away at VCD Athletic today which is just the other side of the Dartford Crossing. It is not the furthest journey we have to do so I leave at around noon to meet my travelling partner Marlon Agyakwa and off we go.
We drew 2-2 in what was an exciting game for the neutrals. We raced into a two-goal lead and it was very comfortable until a poor decision by the referee changed the game so we had to dig in with 10 men.
Unfortunately, they pulled two back and we had to hold on for the draw which in the end felt like a point gained rather than two points dropped.
I spent my Saturday night at Topgolf, in Chigwell, with a group of mates. I won both games of course which was probably more to do with them being awful rather than me being good!
Most Sunday mornings I spend catching up with Match of the Day and then I head to the gym for a recovery session.
I went for a steam and sauna with Harry Skinner, who plays for Hullbridge Sports, but I wish I hadn’t as he spent the whole time moaning about having another game called off!
Sunday afternoons are always spent on the sofa watching the football followed by a roast dinner of course!
I am a coach for a company called Sport4fun. We coach in primary schools all around Essex (from children ages 6-11 mainly in Wickford and Billericay). It isn’t just football – we teach a whole range of sports including tennis and even handball. The company is run by Tarkan Mustafa (who used to play professional football for Barnet and Rushden & Diamonds).
I am up and out by 8am which is the case most mornings but it always feels a little bit harder on a Monday.
But I’m soon woken up by my first group on a Monday morning who have more energy than the Duracell Bunny! I finish at 4.30pm and head to the gym to keep the body ticking over to make sure I’m feeling fresh for the game tomorrow night.
Then it is an early night for me to prepare for the long day ahead tomorrow which ends with the Met Police game in the evening!
After working the morning and early part of the afternoon, I am able to finish at around 2pm. I am very fortunate that Tarks, as a former professional footballer, lets me finish early when I have a midweek game to give me extra time to get there.
I have my pasta at 4.30pm then meet Marlon and it’s off to Met Police. That is not the easiest journey on a Tuesday night, but luckily we made it on time!
Everyone puts in a great shift and we came away with a point. A special mention must go to the big man up front (Enoch Showunmi) who scored a serious goal of the season contender!
Hopefully we can build on this result and push on in our upcoming games starting on Saturday against Tonbridge Angels.
After a very long journey home I’m back in bed by 1am and my alarm is set for 6.45am...can’t wait!
I am up and out early doors. My legs are feeling stiff from the game the night before but it feels a lot better after a positive result! After a busy day of coaching I get home around 5pm feeling pretty worn out.
In the evening it is time to chill out and, you guessed it, watch the football.