From Barcelona to ParscelonaTuesday, 2nd Jul 2019
“It is probably the best club to be at right now. Upward ambitions, young players coming in, it is just perfect to come here and get cracking on a good standard of football. There are some great lads there to learn off and I am just excited to play.
Half way through his tapas during a summer holiday in Barcelona, Josh Coley was informed that Dunfermline Athletic were interested in taking him on loan. Josh recalled:-
“My agent called me and said he had good news. He knew that I wanted to come to Scotland because the Scottish Premiership and Scottish Championship looked such good places for young players to label themselves.
“When he said ‘are you going to Scotland?’ I was so excited but he added ‘you have to be there on Friday’. My flight back was on Friday so I was in the middle of it. He just called the club and the gaffer was so nice about it and basically had no worries just come in on Sunday and I didn’t have to cut my holiday short luckily because it would have cost me a fortune to book and get back.
“The flights were to Manchester and all my stuff were either in North London or in Norwich. On that Friday when I got back I got back twelve o’ clock going into Friday night, slept and travelled from North London to Norwich to get my stuff. Then from Norwich to my mother’s in York where I stayed that night and the next morning from York to Scotland. I must have done twelve to fifteen hours of driving within those two days.”
Due to his mother’s Scottish connections, Josh knew that Dunfermline was “over the bridge” but was not sure how far.
“I’d been to Scotland a few times when I was younger so I had a rough idea but had to do some research to be fair about the club.”
Josh was born in Stevenage but lived in York for sixteen years of his life before moving to Hertfordshire to use his father’s expertise. That led to him playing for Hitchen Town and going out on loan to Baldock Town before Norwich City became interested in him.
“It is good to be here. It is very similar to Norwich. It is a massive family club, everyone is so nice around here - the staff, the people in the town, everywhere you go there is always a welcome. People coming up to you and shaking your hand makes you feel welcome and makes the whole process so much easier.
“That just welcomes you in and makes me feel at home again since obviously I am so far away from home it would be easy for someone of my age to just be shy and drop into the background but since I have been here I have just been my normal bubbly loud self just because everything has been made so easy by everybody at the club - all the staff and the coaches. I am just excited to be playing football again.”
Josh feels that he has been so well looked after since his move from Norwich City and all that remains is to concentrate on playing football.
“All the boys have made it really easy to settle in and the club has made it easy to move into my apartment.”
Josh was told in January that there was a possibility of him going out on loan and then in May told again that he had been put on the loans list by Norwich. He continued:-
“I wanted a loan for a while because after you have played under 23s football for a while you want to get back to men’s football.”
In February Josh signed a deal for another year at Norwich City but knows that he needs to get out and play first team football if he can. The move to Dunfermline suited perfectly:-
“I have not had many conversations with the first team staff or coaches, only the Academy Director, Steve Weaver. The 23s Manager, David Wright, looked after me quite a bit and talked about what he thought was best for me to do.”
The 20 year old winger left part time football which had been interspersed working as brick layer to be full time with the Canaries. He described that as
hard at first.
“I remember going in, I wasn’t overweight but you have to be a certain body fat percentage. I think I was 14 or 15 per cent and all the other boys were around 9% and 10 per cent . I was so used to eating cakes but it was a good transition. The sports scientist at Norwich, Jay (Eastoe Smith), just pushed me and I gave it back 110% in everything that I did. That is maybe why I had so much success in playing all those games up to October and November.”
With someone like Delia Smith a major shareholder at Norwich City, even with an apparent penchant for tapas, it is no surprise that Josh’s diet was scrutinised:-
“I was to eat three meals a day, no snacking to make sure I got my body fat down. Even with all the running I was doing, if I had gone back to eating what I was eating before I would have been fit but my body fat would have stayed the same.
“At Norwich they do apartment checks which are pretty strict because if they go in on a Tuesday when you are at training and you are caught with ‘bad’ food in your apartment it is not really the best. I am now in a routine where I eat what I need to eat to train. I don’t really snack.”
Josh did not feature as much after a busy start to the season but even after having dropped out of contention he was not one to think that his chance had gone. Ignoring the advice of his mother Alison proved to be a good idea.
“I think if I had thought that way I would never have got to where I am now. My Mum and my mum’s dad, my grandad, were probably the two worse people because when I got to the age of eighteen or nineteen, just before I’d gone to Baldock Town, they were telling me it was time to find a career and forget about football.
“I wanted to give myself until I was 21, so I worked as hard as I could and luckily I was picked up at a cup final by an agency that helped me on my way. It was hard but I think if I had the wrong mentality I wouldn’t be where I am now.
“I had a trial at Cambridge when I was sixteen, that was a start because somebody had noticed something. After every game I looked back on what I did questioning ‘did I do enough?”
Josh was happy with his Dunfermline debut on Saturday at Forfar and fans there got a glimpse of the kind of magic he can produce when he majestically controlled a strong pass to clip a great attempt across goal that escape narrowly wide of the far post.
Although there is a Tapas Bar in Dunfermline, Saturday was just for starters and the Pars fans can hopefully look forward to more tasty offerings from Josh.