Woolridge: “We want to make Cyncoed a place that teams fear”
Cardiff Metropolitan University are currently on a run that has seen them lose just one game in seven games and occupying a Europa League play-off place. Cardiff Met’s club captain Bradley Woolridge reflects on the season so far.
It hasn’t all been this good for Met though, the side found themselves with just one point from their first six games, Llandudno away was Met’s first win of the season and that was pinpointed as the real turning point for the Archers said Woolridge.
“Llandudno away is the obvious point where things started to turn around as that was our first win of the season. I remember in the game they had a great chance to equalise late on, which they failed to take, and that result gave us the lift we needed to kick-start our season.”
Cardiff Met opened the season away at Airbus where they suffered defeat on their Welsh Premier League debut, one player that stood out for Bradley was coming up against striker Tony Gray.
“I thought Tony Gray was exceptional that day. I felt I’ve had to improve areas of my game to compete at this level.”
Ex Nottingham Forest and Swansea City defender Christian Edwards was the man that oversaw promotion to the top flight, with the captain feeling that Edwards’ playing career has helped improve his own. Edwards also spent time as assistant-manager at Aberyswyth Town a few years back which will have helped equip the Students on Welsh Premier League safety.
“Being managed by an ex-professional defender certainly guides the mentality of our team, and the emphasis placed on the defensive element of the game. Personally, I’ve learned a lot, and try to take on board the feedback given, and I think we benefit as a team being led by someone who has played at the highest level.”
What inspires the Student Union President to play for the Met is that it’s more than just playing whilst earning. Every Cardiff Met player pays to play for the club rather than the other Welsh Premier League clubs who can offer players a weekly wage.
“Players are always going to be tempted by money to play football, but there’s more to football than money.”
With great form comes attention and it always leads to the possibility of your best players being tempted with a move to clubs that can offer better financial incentives, but Bradley is hopeful that they would remain with the club.
“If teams are looking to sign our players, then it’s credit to the boys that we are doing well, but I don’t think it’s something we should worry about. It’s inevitable teams will be interested, but we hope we can keep hold of the team we’ve got.”
Despite the impressive run, Met will remain fully grounded and know that things can change in a split second.
“We are on a good run at present, but we are fully aware how quickly that can change if we let our standards drop in this highly competitive league.”
With many freshers coming to university this September, there is always a possibility that they may have the opportunity to don the shirt of Met providing they are performing well in the university league’s.
“I expect the squad to largely remain the same, with the possible addition of 1 or 2 players. Some boys have only played 2 or 3 University games so far, so it’s difficult to pre-empt their progression.”
Despite sitting in a top six spot, the target is still to remain in the league.
Our initial thoughts have to be as we set out at the start of the season to remain in the league.
Obviously, we have our ambitions to achieve more, but would be naive to express that in our first season in such a competitive league.
With promotion to the Welsh Premier League, crowds have grown and in September the club attracted a crowd of 400, with a vibrant atmosphere.
Last season we’d be lucky to get more than 50 spectators at a home game, so to see over 400 people at some games is a massive turn around! We want to make Cyncoed a place that teams fear, and hundreds of spectators definitely helps.
PHOTO BY GRAHAM HAINES