Sport Editors Lucy Brogden and James Sproston interviewed Olly Walker to talk about his career so far, what he’s got planned, and why he came 4th in our Team Newcastle Sports Personality of the Year.
How do you feel to have finished fourth?
Good. It’s nice to be recognised for my achievements, and to be nominated. Fourth is a good place to be- I’m very happy, thank you very much.
Why do you think you finished where you did?
I’ve put in a fair bit of hard work, done pretty well throughout the year. I’ve tried pretty hard, even though I’m on and off the pitch at the minute.
When did you start playing football?
Literally since I was born, since I could move, and from there the obsession’s just grown ever since. Pretty much every other thought is football.
“I don’t know why I love it; it’s just the best game in the world”
What teams have you played for?
I played for Manchester City up until I was a teenager, and I’m a City fan as well. I played for Tranmere Rovers up until I was 17, and then I came to uni. At Newcastle, I’ve always played for the ones. In my first year I came up to Newcastle a week early for pre- season, and ended up doing pretty well, so I’ve played for the ones ever since.
What is it that you like so much about football?
I don’t know why I love it; it’s just the best game in the world. It’s a lot of fun, and you can’t beat the feeling of scoring a goal or winning a game. It’s just the best feeling in the world
What roles have you had within NUAFC?
Last year I was first team co-ordinator, which meant I sorted out all the fixtures for the firsts. This year is my third and final year and I’m President, which has been enjoyable so far. It’s a pretty big role, but it’s been a good experience.
What’s been your highlight of playing at uni?
Scoring the winning goal in Stan Calvert last year was pretty good. We won the game and it was the main event. We won the league in first year, which was very good- it was an away last minute winner. We got promoted in out Saturday league last year, and won the league cup as well. In first year we won the BUCS league.
What’s the best thing about NUAFC?
It’s the togetherness of the group. In all the years I’ve played, in all the teams I’ve played in, never have I been in a team that’s more tight knit than here. Everyone in the team is best mates and that helps on the pitch as well.
How are you doing this season?
We’re top of our Saturday league, and doing well. In BUCS we’re second at the minute, but we’re a came in hand, so will hopefully go joint top.
What do you want to achieve as President?
I want to make sure the club runs smoothly, and hand it over in a better state. On the pitch, it’s my last year with the team, so I want to win everything possible. So, promotion in both leagues would be really good, and it would set them up for next year. We keep getting better as a club, and I want to continue with that progress.
So you’ve scored over 100 goals for the club?!
112 goals in 95 games. I’m on 25 goals this season and I’d like to get 50 this year, so I’m halfway there. We don’t score as many goals as a team this year because we’ve adapted the way we play.
“In all the years I’ve played, in all the teams I’ve played in, never have I been in a team that’s more tight knit than here”
Who was your favourite strike partner?
Allan Owen last year- he scored about 30 goals. We were on fire last year.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m going to play football for a few years; get paid, see how it goes. I’ve not got a specific club, but it’ll probably be somewhere in Manchester because there are lots of decent teams around there, but I’m not averse to staying up here.
What’s been your favourite Newcastle team?
That’s a tough one, I don’t know. Maybe first year was my favourite team because we won BUCS, which was a really big deal, and I was new to it all. It’s hard because last year was great too. This year the team is the worst it has been on paper, but it may end up being the most successful- it’s the best team, but we don’t have the best players.
How do you fancy your chances in Stan Calvert?
Northumbria are pretty good. Last year’s game wasn’t great, but I think that we can win again. They’re doing well this year, and they’re above us in both leagues, but I don’t see why we can’t beat them. It’s giving us that extra motivation to train hard. We won last year, in my first year we drew, so to go three years without losing would be good. Hopefully we’ll win Stan Calvert overall.
Any final words?
Thank you for the award!
Sophie Matthews, AU Officer “Joining the 100 club is an achievement in itself, but to do it with such modesty is exactly what makes Olly Walker a huge hit. He’s so committed to the team and is a really fantastic addition to the men’s 1st football team.”