In our second interview of the season we spoke to Ian Rowlands. Q. You formed a good relationship with Lafferty and Grimshaw last season. When you arrived did you think you would fit in so quickly and seamlessly?
The opportunity to play alongside celebrity MC Cover and the salsa dancing local butcher Tommy Bentham was the main driver for my move to Colls if I'm totally honest!
Seriously though, you arrive at a club and hope you can develop relationships on and off the field, from day one (when I turned up and smashed everyone in the bleep test) it was a club, including the fans and committee, that welcomed me and made me feel like I was part of the family before I'd even kicked a ball. That's not normal in every club!
With regard to Grimmy and Laff, not only are they quality players and you hope you can gain their respect as a footballer and start to develop that rapport on the pitch, but they are great lads off the field as well. We had the best defence in the league last season and that's down to good relationships across the pitch like ours.
I'm looking forward to playing alongside them again this season.
Q. Away from football we hear you're a keen music fan, have you managed to get to any festivals over the summer? Have you ever missed a big game to see a band live?
Yeah I love my live music. Outside of football, which obviously takes up a lot of my spare time, I try to get to as many gigs and festivals as I can.
On our Christmas trip to Dublin last year the gaffer said my style was like Liam Gallagher so I'll take that all day long!
This summer I've been to Glastonbury and Kendal Calling festivals. Our first pre-season friendly this year was against Salford, hopefully the fans couldn't tell that it was the day I'd just come back from Glastonbury and been on a 5 day bender?! The highlight was the tan I came back with, seeing the lads and them all thinking I'd been to the Maldives for 2 weeks.
I can't think of a time I've missed a game because of a gig. Football always comes first and you have to be disciplined in your preparation to play at this level.
Q. You're originally from Oswestry. How did you end up in the North West and end up playing football around here?
Yeah, I'm originally from a small town called Oswestry in Shropshire which borders North Wales. After moving and living in Wigan for 8 years I still get regularly asked "ur not from round ere are ya'?' I've not adopted the Wigan accent yet and I've just about managed to work out what Josh Peet says.
l moved up here after uni and tried to find myself a club straight away.
Q. You have played against Colls during your time at Ashton Athletic. How would you describe the transformation at Colls over the past 5 years?
Playing Colls was always one of the toughest games of the season when I played for Ashton. On a personal level it was my toughest game as I had to attempt to stop Mark Battersby scoring against me, we've had some great battles over the years. What a player!
The progress on and off the pitch is incredible, the preparation that goes into every training session and every game now is something I've not experienced before as a player. I can't imagine how much time and effort is dedicated to this behind the scenes.
You've also got to look at the likes of Jo and Billy pulling in great sponsorship deals to move the club forward and working on the finer details to make sure that the players have everything we need for match day. There are some high demands in that changing room as well, like making sure there are enough choccie raisins for Gaz Peet!
I really think it will stand us in good stead and I'm really looking forward to the season.
Can I just take this opportunity to thank my sponsor for the season, the Hobson family. They are amazing people and one of our most dedicated supporters. I hope the lads can give them something to shout about this season and I'm looking forward to their continued support! Thank you again!