Carmarthen shot-stopper Idzi reflects of a decade of top flight football
Carmarthen Town goalkeeper Lee Idzi has played in the top flight now for over a decade and has experienced some memorable moments.
The 29 year-old has played for Haverfordwest County, Neath, Bangor City and now his current side Carmarthen Town.
And now with four Premier League clubs that he’s played at, the Premier League stalwart has given an insight to Arron Fon Evans News .
The former Hereford goalkeeper began his footballing career 21 years ago as an eight year-old where he began as an outfield player.
As he turned out at youth level for his local side, they were short of a goalkeeper, so step forward a young Lee Idzi who donned the gloves. Idzi’s decision to go in goals worked wonders for him as he was named Player of the Tournament and fortunately for him, a Swansea City scout was in attendance and he was later signed up.
Footballing legend Peter Schmichel was Idzi’s idol growing up as a young boy and perhaps his love for the Champions League winner is the reason why he is where he is today.
Idzi has become a house-hold name in Welsh football but for the early years of his career, the ten-time Wales U23 international found it hard to get in at first team level with stints at Hereford, Cheltenham and the reserve squads of Merthyr and Swansea.
As Idzi awaited his opportunity at the young age of just 19, it looked like he would be in between the sticks for South Wales Alliance side Penydarren BC but in came Premier League side Haverfordwest County who eyed a replacement as their first choice keeper left and Idzi was thrown in to his first taste of the top flight of Welsh football, with fortunately for Idzi the forms at Penydarren not being processed, freeing him to play for the Bluebirds.
Fast forward his debut for Haverfordwest back in 2007 and he has made 212 appearances overall for the four clubs he’s played for in the Welsh Premier League.
All players have a manager that they enjoy working under and the names of Derek Brazil and Mark Aizlewood stick out in the mind of Idzi who has a lot of praise for both his former manager and his current manager.
“I had a great relationship with Derek Brazil at Havefordwest County. He was a very relaxed character to the point where it felt like he was one of the boys. We got on really well together and he took a chance in a young 19 year old me that he’d never met before and so I did my best to repay that faith.
My current manager Mark Aizlewood is the best football brain I’ve played under. Him and Derek are complete opposites in terms of tactics and man management but they were definitely two of the greatest.”
A number of Premier League players have played at Bangor City in the Welsh Premier League at one point in their career and Lee Idzi is proud to say he was a Citizen once, recalling his career highlights at the club as well as opening up on leaving the club.
They were the best club and fans I’ve played for. It was a very difficult decision to leave the club and I found it very hard.
“At Bangor we played Prestatyn in the last game at Farrar road in December 2011. It was 5-3 to us in the end in what was a great game to be a part of in front of a huge crowd.
I remember the day when we scored last minute to beat TNS in the Welsh Cup semi-final too, that was a great game.
Nev Powell was another one who I wanted to play for and respected a lot also whilst I was at Bangor. I’m thankful to have played under him.
On reflection I think I left about the right time. I do now believe that it’s a very different club to the one I loved playing for.”
As he embarks on a new season at Richmond Park, the four-time European appearance maker is eyeing a same finish as last season with a top six finish the objective for Idzi.
“I think come start of December, to still be in a position where we can get top 6 again would be great. Like every season we’ll go in with the smallest squad and smaller budget. But we have an honest group who work for each other. We will concentrate greatly on getting a place in the top six and getting through that first phase.
From my point of view, I’d like to do better than I did last season and possibly win some silver through the League Cup, Welsh cup or play offs.”
(Featured Image: NCM Media)