Sunday 5th November 2017
New Signing Eric Graves
Interview with Sam Goldsworthy
Manager Danny Martin wasted no time in strengthening his squad after the 2-1 midweek defeat at South Normanton Athletic, capturing the signature of highly experience midfielder Eric Graves from Step 4 side Belper Town.
The former, Stoke City youth player has played as high up as the Football Conference with Burton Albion and Gainsborough Trinity before spells with local sides Mickleover Sports, Gresley and most recently Belper Town, where he was a regular starter and captain for the Derbyshire club this season.
The addition of the talented and hardworking midfielder certainly worked a treat on Saturday as Eric played a huge role helping the Romans register their first Midland League away win of the season at Rugby Town.
“Yeah it was alright wasn’t it?” Graves said in his post-match interview. "It was a great win, first thing I need to mention is that through ball to Martin Smyth where he ran round the keeper and should have finished, but I think the atmosphere in the dressing room I’ve been told hasn’t been the best because obviously they have been losing but yeah, it’s great to get three points. Last minute winners are always better than comfortable wins to be fair.”
Many people were very surprised that a regular starter and captain at Step 4 Belper down would decide to drop a level to a side on a bad run of form. When asked about his decision to come to Rocester, the midfielder explained; “I’ve known Danny (Martin) since we played together when we were about eight years old in Derby so I’ve known the manager a long time. Really it was family commitments and work commitments that meant that I couldn’t really properly commit to Belper in terms of training and always being there for the games. I was thinking of packing it all in to be honest. Then Dan got in contact and said come and play here (Rocester). I know Martin Smyth from my Gresley and Mickleover days and Rob Ritchie-Smith as well so I thought why not you know”.
It is certain a player of Eric’s quality and experience can pass down his expertise on to the youngsters in the Romans team; “It was kind of the same at Belper as well”, Graves said. “We had a young team apart from maybe three of four of us and I’m getting on a bit now so yeah you try and help them out and talk to them but it was just getting to know everyone today. I’ve not trained yet or anything it’s the first time today with the lads. I’ve been getting to know them and also getting to know the way we play and stuff but hopefully I’ll get better in the next few weeks. Today was just about talking to them and they seem a great bunch of lads as well, there's a lot of togetherness as well as you can see. We’ve been under the cosh and most sides at the bottom at 2-2 would probably have gone and conceded a third but we’ve actually gone on and won it so you can see the togetherness between everyone”.
When asked what Rocester fans, players and staff alike could look forward to in the coming weeks, the midfielder told us; “I just give my all at the end of the day, I do get up and down as much as my legs will carry me! I’ve actually chipped in with a few goals this year but don’t expect too many! I just give my all and try and win second balls and get us out and higher up the pitch. Then people like Martin Smyth and Rob Ritchie-Smith, Callum Riddell and Oli Roome, people like that get the goals for us”.
After Saturdays 3-2 win and with Rocester now out of the relegation zone, Graves explained what his current aims and objectives are during his time with the club. “I’ve not had too much time to think about that but of course the immediate aim is to get out of the relegation zone and get away from that and then obviously push up the league. From there, well I don’t know the league as I’ve never played in it before so I don’t know many of the teams too well. I did know Rugby as we (Belper Town) played against them as they got relegated from our league last season. I’ll certainly be learning as much as everybody else, but to simply get up the league and see what happens is the main goal at the moment”.
Everyone at Rocester Football Club wishes Eric Graves a long, happy and successful time at Hillsfield, and if Saturday was anything to go by we have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.