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"I want to make sure I have no regrets." - Michael Pearson

The Club Captain is enjoying one of his best seasons so far at the club and his impressive performances haven't gone unnoticed.

31-year-old, Michael Pearson, embodies everything that Dunston UTS Football Club is about, and he has played a key role in the recent on-field success at the football club this season.

"I think the season has been a big success so far. We've put ourselves in a great position,Pearson said.

"I think if you offered it to me at the start of the season, I would have snapped your hand off. We knew we had the squad to do well this season, but it is easier said than done, so credit to everyone for the performances they have put in to get us into this position.

"We have a great group of lads who are all willing to graft for each other, and some players with great quality, so there is no reason why we can't keep our good run of form going and hopefully end the season with promotion which has been the aim from day one," he added.

Yesterday saw Dunston make it eleven games unbeaten with a resounding 4-1 victory against Ashington at The UTS Stadium. Perhaps the score didn't reflect the whole game, as Ashington had a foothold for large spells in the second half. However, Dunston were clinical when it mattered most, and Pearson once again put in another Man of the Match performance.

"Yesterday was another good performance and a great win in a local derby. Jon [McDonald] keeps hammering into us that we want to be the best local team in the division, so it's always nice to come away from these games with three points.

"We started the game well with a good tempo and we got our rewards with the first goal. Even after we conceded the equaliser, we responded well to regain the lead and we always felt we were in control.

"We were under pressure for periods of the game, but we have a real togetherness within the squad now and we don't want to give anything away. I think that is one of the reasons we have improved this season. We are a lot more solid, and we are not giving away as many soft goals as we did last season."

Pearson isn't a player that is known for his goal scoring ability however, he contributed a stunning goal yesterday afternoon which saw Dunston retake the lead. This was Pearson's second of the season.

"It's always nice to score, everyone loves that feeling. As you say, it's not a feeling that I experience very often, so it makes it even sweeter when I do get one.

"The lads like to wind me up that I can only kick a ball with the side of my foot, so it's nice to score one with the laces to get them off my case for a week or two!"

During his tenure at the club which began in 2015, Pearson has been involved in so much. He has also occupied a number of roles from central midfield, right back and centre back, showcasing his excellent versatility. When asked if this is the most he's ever enjoyed his football, this is what the club captain had to say.

"I think it probably is. I've had a good season so far playing in a number of different positions for the team and I think generally I have given a good account of myself for the whole season.

Image Credit
Beauty Time Photography
"I'm getting a bit older now, so I don't take it for granted. Every time that I play, I want to make sure that I have no regrets and, ultimately, I want to see the team be as successful as possible. So, I will personally do my best to make sure we are. 

"Also, it is always more enjoyable when you're successful, so it's down to the players that we have at the club to keep winning games and keep the place buzzing. Everyone enjoys winning!" Pearson said.

Despite playing across the back four when called upon, Pearson has played in his more natural position in midfield more often than not. He has developed a great chemistry in the midfield alongside David Robinson and Phil Turnbull.

"It's been class. They are both quality players and good lads. I think we complement each other well; we all know our roles in the team, and we know how to play together."

"I think Twinny [Phil Turnbull] is probably the best I've ever played with in terms of his passing range and keeping possession. He really dictates the game for us and he has brought great experience to the group and he is a leader on the pitch. Robbo is an absolute beast! He's big, strong, and he can run all day. He makes great forward runs and has an eye for goal. 

"In terms of my own role, I know I need to compete in the middle and win the battle for the team, land on every second ball, and set us away on attacks. I think we have a great balance and hopefully we can continue to work well together until the end of the season." Pearson said.

We're now into the second half of the season and sit in 3rd place in The Northern Premier League East Division. With games in hand still to be played, the club is in an excellent position and achieving the goal of promotion come the end of April would mean everything to Pearson.

"It's what it is all about. We all want to be successful and achieve promotion this season. Ten years is a long time to spend at any club, but I have loved every minute of it!

"It's a great club with a passionate committee and a loyal fanbase. Winning the Northern League and gaining promotion a few years back was a great achievement, and that is probably my highlight at the club so far, but I think this season we have a chance to replicate that success and gain promotion again, making history for the club to play at the highest level it has ever competed at. 

"To captain the club and hopefully make that happen would be my biggest achievement at the club!"

As we approach the final months of the season, we need your support! Come and get behind the lads this Tuesday night as we host Stocksbridge Park Steels at The UTS Stadium! (7:45pm kick-off)

Adults (£10), Concessions (£6), U16 (£3)

By Callum Pattison

Published Sunday 4th February 2024