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Once an Iron: Matt Carmichael

23 June 2020


Once an Iron: Matt Carmichael

23 June 2020

As featured in a past matchday programme, we caught up with ex-Iron striker Matt Carmichael to find out his United and career memories.

Keith Alexander had just taken over at Lincoln and I think he thought that I was little bit too old so he instigated my transfer away to Scunthorpe which ended up being a swap deal with David Hill. It turned out to be a good move for me because Richard Money had put a decent team together at Scunthorpe and I think by Christmas in my first year with the club, we were something like third in the league, and still in both the FA Cup and the Football League Trophy. Richard had us playing some really good football and I seemed to be scoring goals no matter which position he played me because I was having one of those seasons where anything I touched seemed to go in the back of the net. My family were in Lincoln so even though I relocated to Scunthorpe, I still wasn’t far away from them which was another positive about the move and I went on to have a great couple of years with the club.

I can’t actually remember the very first game I played but the thing that I remember most about my first couple of months was how easy it was for me to settle in. Scunthorpe was one of the few teams that I didn’t score for on my debut but we had a brilliant set of players with the likes of Graham Alexander and Matt Elliott, and everybody at the club just wanted to get the ball down and play which I admired. Obviously Matt went on to play for Scotland and Graham played over 1,000 games so that just shows the quality that we had in our ranks and it was just a pity that, after such a good first half to the season, we seemed to tail off because we really should have been challenging for promotion at the end of the year. It was clear to see from my first few games at the club that Scunthorpe just wanted to get the ball down and play which I really enjoyed because receiving the ball from the ‘keeper and passing it to the forwards feet is how the game should be played and I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of my time there.

We beat Carlisle 2-1 and I remember scoring a volley from the edge of the 18-yard box that flew into the far corner of the goal which I’ve actually got a couple of photos of! Mervyn Day was in goal for Carlisle and he was at full stretch but couldn’t keep it out so that was probably my most memorable game and goal all rolled into one. I scored quite a few goals throughout my career and I played at Wembley for Darlington but I bagged my first league goal for Lincoln on my debut which turned out to be the winner so that will always be a special moment for me. I loved scoring goals and I always tended to nip in with a few at every club I played for and funnily enough a lot of them seemed to be winners which made them that extra bit nicer.

Graham Alexander is definitely up there as one of the best players I played with and I actually played with David Beckham when he was on loan at Preston and obviously he’s gone on to become one of the most successful players in the game. He produced one of his trademark crosses for me to score a header on my debut from about 12 yards out against Bury so that’s my little claim to fame! You could tell even then that he was going to become a great player because he was very good technically and throughout my career, the better the players that I played with the better I became so it was a great experience to play with someone of David’s quality. There were also some very technically gifted players at Scunthorpe and I think the reason I managed to score so many goals was because we played the ball on the floor instead of lumping it forward and that is something that I’ve always liked about the club.

Overall I’d say that it was the fact that we played football the way it should be played throughout the duration of my time with the club which was important to me. My time at Lincoln was more about hard work rather than passing the ball around but the way we played at Scunthorpe is what I enjoyed most and the club deserve credit for that. That was Richard Money’s way of playing football and Dave Moore wanted to carry that on when he took over which served us pretty well.

Dave Moore had his own plans for the club when he came in and I didn’t feature in those plans so I had to move on. He was playing Damien Henderson and Ian Juryeff up front and my opportunities were few and far between so I went to Barnet on loan for a month initially, had a brilliant time down there and Preston eventually came in for me a bit out of the blue and asked if I’d like to come over for a trial. I went across and played in a reserve game against Bradford, scored a hat-trick after 20 minutes and signed pretty much straight away after that. I joined a few different teams later in my career but didn’t really stick around anywhere for too long and when I look at the world of football today and how much money is involved, I can’t help but think that I was certainly in the wrong generation because we earned nowhere near the amount players get these days!

Scunthorpe United will always mean a lot to me because after Lincoln, Scunthorpe was my next longest serving club. I do like to keep track of how they are all doing and I wish all of my former clubs noting but the best. I’ll always remember my time with Scunthorpe fondly.

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