A soul singer's cousin, a (sort of) Hollywood star and the strange case of disappearing towels. Welcome to Team Tamworth
I’m Sam Habergham, Tamworth’s left back. On Saturday we go to Goodison Park with 5,000 supporters behind us. We’re 15th in the Blue Square Bet Premier; Everton are 11th in the Barclays Premier League. It’ll be tough, but we’re going there aiming for a big upset. Like most non-League clubs, ours is packed with characters.
Here’s my guide to the guys boarding the bus to Merseyside…
Proving his worth: Sam Habergham is plotting a shock at Everton
THE FAMOUS ONE: KYLE PATTERSON
Kyle spent five years with West Bromwich Albion in his youth before moving to the US, where he played three MLS games for LA Galaxy. On his return to the UK he played for Hednesford Town and joined Tamworth as a striker last summer.
He signed at the same time as me during pre-season and he’s also played football professionally abroad in Sweden and Finland as well as that spell in America.
It didn’t take the lads long to find out that he had a celebrity team-mate at one of his more recent clubs: David Beckham.
A clean pair of heels: Patterson in action for LA Galaxy
Kyle doesn’t like to talk about it too much. In fact, he didn’t tell us at all. It wasn’t until someone had a look at his playing record that we realised he had brushed shoulders with the former England skipper in LA.
He might not mention Beckham much, but the same can’t be said of another former colleague of his out there, Landon Donovan. It’s been Landon this, Landon that since the draw was made. I hope if he is out there tomorrow the Everton man recognises him and comes across to say a friendly ‘Hello’.
Otherwise, poor Kyle is never going to live it down.
THE KIT MAN: ‘BUSTER’ BELFORD
A club legend. He’s part of the fabric of this place. He’s been looking after the kit for 30 years.
His son, Dale, is the goalkeeping coach and the Belford family are the heart and soul of the club.
He’s an absolute star who is always doing favours for people, like washing their stuff if they are a bit pushed for time.
He has one problem, mind you. He is obsessed with towels. At the start of the season, there were 25… but there were 10 left in the dressing room at the last count.
One-club man: 'Buster' Belford is part of the furniture at The Lamb
He thinks the lads steal them. We think he goes to the market and sells them to raise cash for sovereign rings.
He loves a sovereign ring does Buster. His fingers are full of them.
A few of the lads live in digs together. Buster keeps threatening to go around to the house and expose them as the towel thieves.
It’s going to run and run this one. It will probably only get sorted when we have nothing else to dry ourselves with.
THE CHAIRMAN AND DIRECTORS
Chairman Bob Andrews and the board are delighted to be travelling from Staffordshire to Goodison Park. No prizes for guessing why — I bet they fancy a replay.
Generally they are a friendly lot and one of the directors, Martin Newbold, owns a local Nissan dealership. A few of us went to visit his garage the other day and he said that if we beat Everton, he would give each member of the squad a car to drive around for a year. It was a nice gesture and one that went down well.
But when we thought about it, he didn’t specify what we would be driving around in. I think we’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
THE CELEBRITY: SAM OJI
Sam has recently joined us after spending a horrible couple of years out with a knee injury.
It wasn’t until this week though that we found out that he has a celebrity relation. Sam is the cousin of soul singer Lemar.
Perhaps he should have kept that to himself as the poor guy is going to be inundated with requests for free concert tickets.
Fame in the blood: Sam Oji (left) and Lemar
THE JOKER: DUANE COURTNEY
In the build-up to this one Duane was asked whether he had any particular highlights in the FA Cup and he answered: ‘No, but I’ve had one or two in the Champions League.’ That immediately attracted the media’s attention.
In fairness, it’s a decent claim to fame for a non-League footballer. Duane played for TNS when they drew Liverpool a few years ago and lined up against Steven Gerrard and Co at Anfield.
He is not slow at coming forward to tell us, either, that we won’t have done anything in the game until we have played with stars on the balls like they do in the Champions League.
A funny guy: Team wag Duane Courtney keeps them all on their toes
They are a pretty noisy bunch at The Lamb and I’m certain 5,000 of them will make themselves heard up at Goodison with no difficulty at all.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the backing they give us. A few weeks ago, I tried to move the ball a couple of yards forward during a game when the referee’s back was turned.
I was on the left, near the halfway line and the crowd were egging me on to steal a bit more ground at a free-kick. So I did.
Just at that moment the referee marched towards me and ordered me — rightly — to put the ball back.
For his trouble, he suffered some fearful stick from the crowd and I was cheered for doing it. He was well within his rights to tell me to put the ball on the right spot. It might have been easier for him if he turned a blind eye to it though.
THE GAFFER: MARCUS LAW
I’ve got to be careful with this one, haven’t I All the lads know the boss was a keeper and we know he played in the Football League, making two
appearances for Bristol Rovers. But he never joins in with training. Ever.
A few of us were wondering whether he was any good. But he never puts himself up for it — and who’s going to argue with him He has used the excuse that he has two better keepers than he ever was here at Tamworth.
Like I say, we’ll have to leave it at that. He hasn’t selected the team yet, has he
In focus: Marcus Law is prepared for the trip to Goodison Park
AS FOR ME
I’m 19 years old and trying to make my way back in the game after being released following a two-year professional contract with Norwich.
I played with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Jonjo Shelvey for the England Under 17 side and it’s great to see how well they’ve been doing at Arsenal and Liverpool.
Perhaps on Saturday — if selected — it might be my turn to catch the eye on the TV highlights. Like the rest of Tamworth, I can’t wait.