In the fifth of our monthly series, Gavin Caney shines the spotlight on King’s Lynn Town goalkeeper ALEX STREET
Did you always want to be a goalkeeper?
No, I used to be a defender in my early years. I was what you would call a slow right back who actually couldn’t even kick a ball very well. I do remember bombing down the wing once and I cut inside and got brought down for a penalty. Can you believe they didn’t let me take it? It’s safe to say I was fuming.
When did you start playing in goal and why?
One day the goalkeeper didn’t turn up for a match – it was away at Dersingham I think.
I’m pretty sure it was a case of ‘put the fat kid in goal’. We lost 7-1 and it was so wet and muddy that it was one of those games when you slide for the ball and you just keep going. I skidded that far that I nearly went in the opposite goal!
I didn’t even have any goalkeeper gloves for the match. My friend lent me some gloves, which came from a Sunday market with a bit of rubber stitched to the knitted glove.
Having spent some time playing for Cambridge United u19s, how disappointed were you when you had to focus on playing
I only went on a tournament with them, which we won, over in France. It was a very good experience for me. They literally called me up on a Monday night to see if I could go and we left on the Friday the same week.
I got Mondays off college to go training with Cambridge that my old tutor Steve Lilley sorted. On some of these days I even got to train with the first team.
I was always with Wisbech though so I have always been in and focusing on non-League.
Talk us through your early days at Wisbech. Was it an eye opener?
Coming from village football to playing for the town was a massive step. I thought I’d made it and got to play for the u18s at Fenland Park but never for the first team, which I was gutted about.
As a kid watching Wisbech and pounding on the tin fence around the pitch made a good atmosphere, which I would have liked to play in front of.
The physical side of things didn’t bother me much because being a goalkeeper you have to do crazy things sometimes.
How demanding is it working full time and playing football
It’s quite tough. I do a lot of miles travelling for training. I think I recorded more than 10,000 miles for matches and training in total last season, so it does take its toll on my body over the months – especially living out of hotels like I do most of the week.
But playing football with a good group of lads drives you through those aches and pains, because you don’t want to miss a session if you can help it.
Was it a difficult decision to make when King’s Lynn Town came calling?
It was to start with because Wisbech is my boyhood town and I’d built a good bond with my team-mates and had some good friends in the team.
But I don’t regret the decision to go over to Lynn in 2010. When you walk out on to the pitch and you see the stadium and the plans the club had, with its massive fanbase as well, the decision was easy.
After a couple of great seasons, you lost your place to Danny Gay and spent time on loan. Did you ever consider leaving? How hard was it to be a No.2?
I think I lost my place because I got a bit complacent.
But losing my shirt gave me the drive to be better and try to get it back. It’s not easy going from a regular to a back-up goalkeeper and knowing you’re not playing on a Saturday was a terrible feeling, because I just wanted to play football.
I don’t think I ever considered leaving but I did find it hard just going to different clubs for a bit of game time here and there.
You regained your place and you and Lynn have gone on to achieve great things. What would you say your greatest achievement at The Walks has been?
It has to be this season’s promotion. It is such a great feeling knowing what we achieved from where we started.
I have had some good runs in the Trophy and FA Cup, beating some very good sides through the years. Winning the Norfolk Senior Cup at Carrow Road will always be a memory, because you don’t get to play at grounds like that often.
It’s not just Lynn that you love though is it? Talk Sunday League and your CSKA Emneth passion.
CSKA has my heart. It was a club I started from scratch and now has all my best friends playing for. It cost a small fortune to set up but it’s been worth every penny!
We have come a long way in five years. We went from one team to three teams in three years and now we have two teams and have been going for six years as a club.
We host a charity golf day every year, which supports local charities around Wisbech, so we try to put something back into the community and are always looking to build and make the club bigger.
As you get ready for a crack at Step Two of the non-League ladder next term, what are your aims for National League North?
I would like to firstly stay in the league.
The level is new to us and there’s some very big clubs in there, so we’re going to have to suss it out. We will go and give it a good go.
I would like to go for 10-plus clean sheets, which I think is doable, but the quality is going to be so much higher that I’ll have to be at my best every week.
The facts are…
Name: Alex Street
Date of birth: 24/07/1991
Birth place: King’s Lynn
Grew up in: Walpole St Peter
Schools: Marshland High, COWA
Current club: King’s Lynn Town
Former clubs: Wisbech; Loans – Deeping, Spalding, Leiston
Honours: Northern Premier League Division One South winner (2012/13); Norfolk Senior Cup (2016/17); Midland Premier Play-Off and Super Play-Off winner (2018/19).
- No player has played more games for King’s Lynn Town than Street – who has amassed 422 appearances so far.
- Street spent time away from The Walks in 2012/13 and 2013/14 thanks to ‘loan’ spells at Wisbech Town, Deeping Rangers, Spalding and Leiston.
- The nickname ‘Pedro’ has stuck since high school days when Alex and his friends formed a gang called WSM and you needed a name to be in it.
- He has a tattoo with ‘No Pedro No Party’ just beneath the ‘CSKA’ tattoo on his chest.
- CSKA won their first trophy in 2015.
Restaurant or takeaway?
Night in or night out?
Bath or shower?
Tea or coffee?
Sweet or savoury?
Summer or winter?
Day or night?
Cinema or theatre?
I just love food
Least favourite: Pies
Favourite TV programme: Peaky Blinders
Least favourite: Coronation Street
Favourite band/musician: Kings of Leon
Least favourite: Little Mix
Favourite film: Equalizer
Shape of Water
Answers in italics