mattjones"In Converstation With" were articles for the matchday programme in the 1998/99 season in which Dave Tavener interviewed various members of the team. Below is the interview with Matt Jones.

"I was with Chelsea as an associated schoolboy and was disappointed not to get an apprenticeship there. The then youth development officer at Chelsea, Gwynne Williams, put me in touch with Southend United and they gave me a one and half year apprenticeship. Dave Webb took me on as a full time professional and gave me an opportunity in the first team, he also gave a couple of others their chance like Justin Edbinburgh and Spencer Prior."

Football League debut

"Southend offered me a new contract when the time came but I got a better offer from Chelmsford City and at the time I was well into my education, so I though I may as well bail out now.

There are a lot of players I've known who have gone through their careers playing in the lower Division's and come out at 30 without any qualifications."

"I suppose including cup ties I must have made around 15 to 20 appearances for Southend, my debut was against Bristol City at home. There was a certain Nigel Martyn playing in goal and I think I must have got him his move to better things. I came on with about 20 minutes to go and he had to stretch to tip one over which was going in the top corner. I was expecting not to be in the squad but then one of the boys rang in ill. I got to the ground and Dave Webb asked me what I had for lunch, I told him not a lot so he told me I was on the bench. It was a good job I lied as I actually had massive helpings of egg, bacon and chips."

"I don't regret not staying full time, I have got a fantastic job and I enjoy playing part-time football. There is a better atmosphere at non-league, in the professional game it is dog-eat-dog where as in the semi-pro game it is friendlier and you know that if someone is going to take your place then you have the other job to fall back on."

Pulling together

"George Borg was the man who signed me at Chelmsford and that was an experience. He is a fantastic manager off the pitch but as soon as the 90 minutes start he becomes a man possessed. To be fair to him, he took a gamble on me when I first went there. I was used to a hard style of management under Dave Webb and I can see how George rubs some people up the wrong way but I have got nothing but admiration for him. After George, it was under Danny O'Leary that I probably played my best football at Chelmsford but when Joe Sullivan came in we didn't see eye-to-eye and I was given an opportunity to sign for Garry Hill at Heybridge Swifts.

Garry has the knack of making you believe you are signing for the best club in the world but when I got to the club I thought 'what have I done here.' To be fair to Garry he had ambition and I had a fantastic four years there. I think you will find that wherever Garry is working everyone is pulling together and there is no back-stabbing and no animosity."

"At Heybridge we probably had eight or nine good players and made up for the rest with sheer enthusiasm and I have learnt that no matter how much skill alone you have, to

progress you have to match it with hard work. It is an ethos that I know Garry believes in and now the players believe it too.

You have to work hard and work for each other as that covers up for a multitude of sins."


"If I put my hand on my heart, I would say I enjoy playing centre of the park as you get more involved in the game so you are not relying so much on service. When you play wide you can tend to drift in and out of the game, although I think I am more effective out there due to my pace. At Chelsea they had a fantastic coaching set-up, they would rotate you in various positions and this gives you an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of other players and positions."

FA Cup

"I have been very fortunate in the FA Cup as I think I have reached the 1st Round about four times in eight years. I think you can get a long way in the Cup just through sheer effort and

determination, there is nothing to compare to the thrill and excitement of the FA Cup.

A good cup run does generate some interest in the club and at Heybridge it was a different kind of support in that it was very personal and everyone knew each other. Chelmsford was

like St. Albans in some respects in that it is a city club with a big fan base but it maybe didn't have the people needed to take the club forward in a constructive and consistent way, it is disappointing to see what is happening there as Chelmsford is a massive non-league club."

Three goal lead

"There are better sides than us who have lost 3-goal leads, only recently West Ham lost to Wimbledon after being three up. Football is so unpredictable but no, you should not lose a 3-goal lead."


"I think I have matured as a player as I've got older. In my younger days I was probably sent off due to stupidity as my emotions got the better of me. I am not a blood and thunder player but maybe I show my passions in other ways through my running and enthusiasm. When I was younger I was a little more hot blooded but you do mellow with age."


"The atmosphere between what we had at Heybridge when we won promotion and what we have here at St Albans now is very similar. We have not only had players come in from     Heybridge but from other clubs as well and if you can get everyone working together - irrelevant of whether they are playing or not - then you can achieve success."

"I have been fortunate in that I have played in most of the games but I can honestly say that the attitude of those who have not really been in the side has been second to none and they

have really pushed on those players in the side to make sure they keep playing to a high level."