‘I’m told I’m the Paul Merson of Moneyfields’ – goalkeeper Tom Price on being talked out of retirement to join US Portsmouth exodus
Tom Price has revealed how he was talked out of retirement to join Moneyfields.
The former US Portsmouth goalkeeper, a key part of the club's run to the FA Vase semi-final last season, had planned to call time on his career this summer because of a prolonged back problem.
However, Price, 31, has now been persuaded to play on for at least one more season after signing for Moneys. He is one of 12 USP players that have followed Glenn Turnbull to Dover Road - alongside Tom Cain, Liam Kyle, Harry Birmingham, Sonny Harnett-Balkwill, Elliott Turnbull, Jordan Pile, Callum Glen, Harry Bedford, James Franklyn, Dec Seiden and Tyler Moret.
Price, who has also played for Horndean, Portchester and Gosport Borough, had been adamant last season was his final campaign as a player.
Chronic back problems since he was a teenager had taken their toll and he revealed how it can take more than an hour to get out of bed the morning after a match-day.
But Turnbull has persuaded him to be his first-choice goalkeeper at Dover Road next term - after giving Price assurances over managing his training and playing schedule to prevent increased strain on his back.
Price said: 'Glenn had been in contact after the FA Vase and obviously we played Hamworthy in the cup (Wessex League Cup final) and lost and he was like, ‘you’re not giving up, you’re not giving up,' but I told him I needed to.
‘Obviously he’s now Moneyfields manager and Barto (Paul Barton, coach) and a lot of the lads persuaded me to go across.
‘Glenn has said to me to not worry about training, playing twice a week; he said I’m like the Paul Merson of our side. It’s a case of if my back is hurting and I can’t train, then don’t.
‘He obviously wants me to be number one, but I think he’s signed about five keepers so far! The lads have been texting me asking me if I’m playing!’
In addition to Price, Turnbull has also brought keeper Callum McGeorge back to Moneys. Previously at Dover Road as a youngster, the player subsequently joined Gosport Borough and Follands.
Price continued: ‘I was so dead cert on it (retiring). But everyone was saying, ‘you can’t, you can’t, you’re a long time retired,’ but trying to get out of bed for two hours on a Sunday morning isn’t helping - and that’s not a hangover, it’s a bad back.
‘The offer was really good and Glenn put himself in a position where I knew he wanted me - it’s one more year.'
Price – who scored three penalties in shoot-outs during USP’s Vase and Wessex League Cup runs, saving spot-kicks in all three games as well – still has no exact diagnosis for his back problem which he's struggled with for more than 10 years.
But he admitted the problem has been a lot 'better' since the end of the season with USP.
Yet, Price conceded he is unsure whether he'll be able to see out the whole of next term with Moneys - and managing his workload will be a priority.
He added: 'Since I’ve not been playing, obviously the season has ended, my back has been a lot better. Maybe that’s had an impact on me wanting to carry on because I feel like I can.
‘I know I can do a job, I did a job all through the FA Vase with a broken back, effectively.
‘I know I can do it, I’ve played Wessex League and Southern League, it’s not a case of the standards are too high or anything like that - it’s whether I want to and the body will hold up.
‘I’m looking forward to it, not really looking forward to training, but I’m looking forward to getting back.
'It might not even be one more (season) - it might be six months or so, it depends how it holds up.
‘If it holds up for the season then I’ll have a look at next season and I’ll just play it by that.'