Player interview - Michael Pearson
In this interview we talk to Dunston UTS FC's midfielder dynamo Michael Pearson as he makes his recovery back from the injury that has kept him out of action since pre-season.
In this interview we talk to Michael Pearson (pictured below). Having joined Dunston UTS FC back in 2015, he has gone on to become a solid, reliable and hardworking midfielder. With over 100 appearances for the club, he was influential in Dunston UTS FC's Northern League title win in the 2018/19 season. Having sustain an injury away to Newcastle Benfield during pre-season, we catch up with the player as he makes his recovery.
You’ve been out since pre-season with the injury you picked up away to Newcastle Benfield. How frustrating has it been for you not being able to play?
It’s been really frustrating! Especially when the lads were still playing and I was watching from the side-line, not able to do anything that has got to be the worst feeling in football.
I’m due in for surgery in a couple of weeks so hopefully that will be all sorted and I can concentrate on getting fit for when we start up again, whenever that may be, but if ever there was a time to get a long term Injury I suppose this has been it.
Have the Surgeons given an estimate as to how long you’ll be looking at in terms of being back to full fitness?
6-8 weeks and I should be able to train again, full contact hopefully. I will be able to run a bit before that to start getting some fitness back. So that is the only target now, making sure it heals up OK then focus on getting my fitness levels back up.
(Pictured above) the injury which has kept Pearson out of the game since pre-season.
With the situation as it is, and the League currently suspended, have you got any thoughts on how this season should conclude?
I think null and void is probably the best option now given how far behind we are, unless the league has any other ideas, maybe play everyone once instead of twice could be an option, but personally I think we should just start again next season when hopefully there are less restrictions and fans are allowed in.
The fans being allowed in I think is vital for teams at this level, given that takings on game day is the only real income along with sponsors, so I think it has to be when fans are allowed in and I can’t see that being before the start of next season.
The current situation aside, you look at how the team had started this season, how they were getting good results and putting in some solid performances, you compare that to last season, which was, performance wise, arguably inconsistent. What do you think had been the key differences in how we started this season?
I think having the experience of last season has definitely helped us and I think we were more prepared this time round, especially in terms of not giving away goals and making it hard for ourselves to get back into games. We know as soon as teams get a lead in this league they will time waste and appeal for everything, no matter how early and not give away many chances to get back into the game, so that is something I think we improved on this season and we looked solid.
Apart from that I think we made some good additions, the lads that came in all have great quality, they have experience of this league and leagues above which I think definitely helped us this season.
Pearson captaining Dunston UTS FC to victory over West Auckland Town in the J.R. Cleator Cup back in 2019
You look at the quality of sides in this league, and it’s been said so many times before, there’s no easy games, look at Marine, a side we’ve played a good few times already and got some impressive results against. Were you surprised by the F.A. Cup run they went on this season and do you think it’s a fair indication of the quality at this level and in particular this league?
I think there is a lot of quality in this league and teams seem to be a lot more organised compared to the Northern League.
Obviously Marine’s F.A. Cup run was incredible but I wasn’t really surprised. We know they are a decent team in our league and having a good run like they did just shows it’s possible! They obviously done unbelievably well to get to that stage and it’s hard not to get jealous watching them play Spurs on TV, especially because we never even got a chance to play in The FA Cup this season but I think it does go to show the quality of players at this level of football.
Pictured above in action at home to Colne FC in The FA Cup last season at The UTS Stadium.
The last two seasons before this one, Dunston UTS FC have gone on some impressive runs in The FA Cup. The 2018/19 seen us face Gateshead in the 4th qualifying round in front of over 2,500 fans, in what was an outstanding season, that must have been some experience as a player, the match live on TV, a load of build-up in the press. The F.A. Cup is still massive, particularly for clubs and players at this level. How does that game rank as one of the biggest games of your career?
That’s right up there! I think that season as a whole was incredible but that cup run was something else, we played teams from higher leagues just about every round and had some really good wins on the way to that Gateshead game.
I remember the Chester game being a bit of a thriller that we managed to win 4-3 if I remember correctly. The buzz grew after every round and then when we drew Gateshead, I think that was the game everyone wanted. It was a massive game for the area and there was a real buzz about the place! Even though we ended up getting beat I still have fond memories of the day and that was one of the best occasions I have been involved in in football.
A lot of that was down to the partnership you and Jake Stafford formed in the middle of the park. I remember when Swaz came in and you were playing full back but over the last few seasons you’ve developed into a solid central midfielder, made the position your own and become a key player for Dunston. How much do you think you’ve developed in that time?
We have always had a good team mentality and everyone is willing to work hard for one another, which for me has been the key to our success and is the way Dunston have been for a number of years. It’s something I always make sure I do and I pride myself on giving 100% effort always.
I think Jake and I did have good partnership that season, I think we definitely bring the best out of each other and again I put that mainly just down to hard work.
In terms of my own development I think I have definitely enjoyed the move from fullback to midfield and enjoy being able to get involved more in the game and I think I’m a better player for that, basically as long as it doesn’t involve shooting, I’ll do a job anywhere.
The 2019/19 season Dunston UTS FC won The League title by 17 points, an amazing achievement, what made that season the success that it was?
That season was probably the best season I’ve ever been involved with in non-league football, to win a league as competitive as The Northern League by 17 points just goes to show what an achievement it was! I think it was all down to how good the team spirit was that season and we are all good mates on and off the pitch. The wins on the pitch and the nights out were equally good and it was a pleasure to be a part of! The highlight of the season being the FA cup run and the buzz around the place and being the talk of the town. And it was incredible to play in front of the 2500 people that turned out to watch and even though we got beat by Gateshead that was one of the most enjoyable days I’ve had at Dunston!
On the Coach back from games, who is the worst player to get control of the music selection and best back of the bus DJ?
Well it’s normally Scrappy (Liam Thear) in control of the tunes and I think he does a pretty good job. Fitzy (Mark Fitzpatrick) likes to get the rave on, which I don’t mind and I know the committee are big fans of that as well, but that’s basically the only two that really step up.
A smiling Club Chairman Malcolm James proudly presenting Michael Pearson with his trophy to commemorate his 100th appearance in a Dunston UTS FC shirt.
Dunston UTS FC Chairman Mr Malcolm James had this to say of Michael:
Since Michael joined the club in 2015 he has played a major part in our success and to lose him for what would have been a full season would have been a major blow. However the rest of the lads made an excellent start to the season and it will be like a new signing for Swaz next season. Current circumstances have delayed the operation which was necessary but everyone is confident that we can look forward to having an important member of the squad back for the start of the next season.
Michael will be taking part in a duathlon to in support of Chron's and Colitis UK. Any financial support you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
A message from Michael is detailed below along with links to his Just Giving page:
I am taking part in my first ever duathlon on September or October 2021 along with my brother and thought this could be a great opportunity to raise some money for charity! I have decided to support Chron’s and Colitis UK.
Chron’s disease is something that my brother suffers with and something that lots of people might not be aware of, so I’m using this opportunity to raise money and awareness to a great cause, and hopefully play a small part in improving the lives of people living with Chron’s Disease.
Obviously it’s a difficult time to ask for money off people but if you can afford it then please donate to a great cause!
Michael Pearson is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt - Mrs Sharon Nisbet
Away shirt - Dougie James Lowden
Training kit - The Crow's Nest
Dunston UTs Fc are proudly sponsored by UTS Engineering Ltd.
Interview by Danny Whalen.
Images courtesy of Kelvin Shell at Beauty Time Photography