TFF got the pleasure of interviewing Leatherhead’s new striker Tom Derry. Here’s everything you need to know about the new signing.
What were the reasons behind joining Leatherhead Football Club?
Before leaving Kingstonian, I had a look at the league table and identified a few teams I’d like to speak to, top of the list was Leatherhead. Obviously I know the ground well, it’s not too far from home and I’d heard really good things about the club and the manager. I left on the Monday without lining anything up and within two minutes of the announcement on Twitter, I had a direct message from Sammy. We had a couple of good chats during the week, he explained what the club is looking to achieve not only this season but next season too.
I think there were 12 offers in total on the table and I took my time to hear them all out; but I always knew I wanted to play my football for Leatherhead. Sammy called me on Friday morning and come midday, I’d met up with Richard Brady and I was a Leatherhead player. The main factor in wanting to join Leatherhead was the opportunity to work with Sammy and Mids, two players that had done the business in the professional game. I couldn’t wait to play up top with Mids, I can learn so much from him and I really enjoyed our partnership on Saturday.
What’s been the biggest highlight of your footballing career to date?
I’m not too sure to be honest, we had a good FA cup run when I was at Aldershot a few years ago. To walk out at Fratton Park in front of 16,000 people in the FA Cup 1st round was definitely special, especially as half my family are Southampton fans! Or maybe scoring against Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup when I was at Charlton, that was pretty special at the time. Whenever you score it’s obviously a great feeling and they’re mini highlights in themselves, hopefully there will be many more of those with me in a green shirt. I definitely feel like I’ve got so much more to offer and haven’t reached my full potential yet, when we win the play off final this year, that will be my biggest career highlight.
Who’s been the best footballer you’ve played with?
I’ve played with quite a few, we had a really strong youth team at Charlton and the majority of the team over the two years have gone on to have Football League experience. I’d say the two that stood out for me were Joe Gomez and Diego Poyet. They both broke into the first team as scholars and got moves to the Premier League from there; Diego made his debut for West Ham at Old Trafford and Joe looks like he might have a shot at making England’s World Cup squad this summer!
Who’s your football idol?
I grew up obsessed with Beckham, he was England captain at the time and I used to play similarly when I was younger. When he left Man Utd and Ronaldo took over the number 7 shirt, Cristiano became my idol. After that it was Fernando Torres, on his day he was unstoppable. He was the complete forward in my eyes, he could hold the ball up, make runs in behind, win his headers as well as being one of the best finishers in the game. At the moment it’s got to be Harry Kane though, I’ve been studying his movement in and around the box recently to try and bring some of that into my own game. It can’t be a coincidence the ball drops to him every time!
What’s your first impressions of the fans & media side of Leatherhead Football Club?
The fans have been absolutely class since I’ve come in, they’re really passionate and help push us on the pitch. I enjoyed the banter between the Tanners and K’s fans on my debut, to have over 500 for that game it shows the level of club we are and where we are going. With all the off field work the media team are doing it wouldn’t surprise me if that figure gets to 600/700 by the end of the season. When I was at Kingstonian the atmosphere at Fetcham Grove wasn’t the best, but it’s completely different when Leatherhead are playing; the place is buzzing.
I don’t know how many we have working on the media side of things, but the social media presence we have is something I’d expect from a professional outfit. You can tell the online interest the media team are generating, so that kind of buzz off the pitch can only be good for us on it too. The ‘Tom Derry has scored more than Lionel Messi has in 2018’ was a personal favourite. The fans are really active on Twitter too so it’s nice to engage with them and have a more personal relationship with the fans you don’t get at a higher level. Having my first Leatherhead goal filmed on the weekend was a nice touch, something to look back on in the future; hopefully the first of many on camera!
What’s your target this season with Leatherhead?
I’d love us to make the playoffs, 12 points from a possible 12 over the Christmas period has set us up well to really push on and challenge for the playoffs now. With the quality we’ve got and the games in hand, I see no reason why we won’t be there or thereabouts come April. On a personal level, to get 11 more goals between now and the end of the season. When I left K’s I was on 8, I scored my first Tanners goal at the weekend taking me to 9.