It’s time for one of the nicest men in football – and a former Linnet – to take centre stage as SAM MULREADY answers Gavin Caney’s questions
When did you first realise that turning pro was actually a reality?
During my scholarship. I had scored goals all through my time at Grimsby in the different age groups and was getting some attention. I knew if I kept scoring and doing the business on the pitch I would get an opportunity.
The first team weren’t doing great at the time and I would often train with them. Eventually that resulted in being involved in the match-day squads. That’s the first time I really felt part of the team and getting a professional contract was likely.
After signing a short-term professional deal at Grimsby and scoring goals in pre-season, how frustrating was it to never quite make the transition from youth prospect to first teamer?
It was a very frustrating time. The first-team managers chopped and changed at the end of my second year scholarship. The new managers came in and it went from being a nailed-on contract to a big uncertainty. They brought in a load of their own players, and only offered me a six-month deal.
From there it just didn’t really get going and I started to realise I wasn’t in their long-term plans. I was involved in the squads but didn’t get a lot of game time, which eventually resulted going out on loan.
A series of loans, including time at King’s Lynn, followed. Talk us through how you felt during this time away from Grimsby?
At the time I felt pretty down to be honest. I worked so hard for all those years to get a professional contract for it to then not really get going.
However, I took the chance to play men’s football consistently, while still training with Grimsby in the week. It was an interesting time and a real eye opener into non-League football. Looking back on it now, it definitely helped my game and made me mentally stronger to deal with a game that can be so ruthless.
In February 2013 you returned home to Lynn permanently. What were your standout moments at The Walks?
I look back at my time at Lynn very fondly. It was a real pleasure playing for my home town and with my mates. There were so many great times on the pitch but the one highlight has got to be getting promoted (2012/13).
Being in a successful team doesn’t happen too often in your career and it’s still the only promotion I have won. It was extra special playing a big part in it, scoring in the promotion and title-winning game at home to Sheffield FC, before Shane Tolley scored the winner.
After leaving the Linnets you tried a few clubs but eventually, after a couple of spells, settled at Soham. What made you choose the Greens?
I had a pretty good time at St Neots and Corby Town, scoring goals and playing week in, week out. For whatever reason it didn’t last and Rob Mason gave me the opportunity to go over to Soham.
It’s a small club with a nice feel about the place and some really great people behind the scenes. Securing my position as the main striker and playing for managers who really believe in me has helped my performances no end.
You’ve scored plenty of goals during your different spells with Rangers, including 19 during the season just gone. Has being a regular, and happy, helped bring the best out in you?
I’d say it definitely has. I have a great relationship with the staff and players on and off the pitch and I think this really shows in our performances.
I like to feel relied upon and have almost a sense of pressure to perform. I get that at Soham and so far it’s working nicely.
There is no better feeling than scoring goals and winning with a great bunch of lads.
The coronavirus pandemic saw your league get declared null and void. How do you feel about that decision and how much are you missing playing?
It’s obviously been a terrible few months and football is very low on the priority list for most people. But it was frustrating to finish the season early and not be able to see our hard work through to the end.
I feel for some teams, especially Kings Lynn, who could really suffer from the stoppage.
It feels like forever since we played and I can’t wait for it to resume, whenever that will happen.
At 27, have you given up on trying to reach the Football League? What are your aims for the future?
You’re making me feel old! I’d be lying if I didn’t say my dream would be to play professionally again. I think it’s the same for all footballers.
However, I’m realistic and understand you need more than one string to your bow.
I’m lucky being involved in the family business and playing football for a club I really enjoy being a part of.
I’m just going to continue scoring goals and see where it takes me.
The fact are…
Name: Sam Mulready
Date of birth: May 6, 1993
Birth place: King’s Lynn
Grew up in: King’s Lynn
Secondary School: KES
Soham Town Rangers
Former clubs (selected): Grimsby Town, Boston United (loan), Corby Town, King’s Lynn Town, St Neots Town
Sporting heroes: Wayne Rooney and David Beckham
• In his first full season with Soham (2018/19) Sam scored 48 per cent of his side’s 44 goals.
• In Year 11, he was allowed to have Fridays off school to stay over at Grimsby and train/play with the youth team.
• Sam works for his family business, Mulready Associates, alongside his parents and all three of his brothers.
• Mullers, as he is known, received his first squad number midway through his second-year scholarship at Grimsby. Alongside Dayle Southwell, who is now at Lynn, Sam was number 31, while Dayle was 32.
• In 2017, he scored twice (in a 6-1 win) in a non-League challenge game against a host of Premier League legends, including former Linnet Dion Dublin. It was all thanks to another Lynn old boy, Jason Lee, for downing a beer during a goal celebration!
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?
Favourite food: Nandos
Least favourite: Squid
Favourite TV programme: MOTD and Power
Least favourite: Soaps
Favourite band/musician: Future
Favourite film: Taken
50 Shades of Grey
Answers in italics