Next up in our Q and A interviews is Sam Mantom. Sam signed initially on loan, then made his move permanent. He scored a memorable goal against Brentford that we will never forget.
Firstly, how did your transfer to Walsall first come about?
Previously had a couple of short loan spells in league 1 when I was at West Brom. Came back in from training one day and Dan Ashworth said Dean smith wants to take you on loan, will be a great experience and at that time Walsall were in a relegation battle. Being at Walsall from a young age before going to West Brom it was really a no brainer to go there and try help out while getting some more minutes at that level. Was a mental day!
I remember the day you signed, I also remember the goal you scored, how long had you played with the boys before your debut?
I think I signed at 2pm and started against Sheffield United at 7:45pm that evening!! There was a meeting at the training ground before the game to run through set pieces and the team, that was when Dean Smith said this corner routine is for you. I had been there 1 hour, told I’m starting and managed to get a shot from a corner haha! I remember focusing on not ballooning it, head down and ended up curling one into the top corner! Unbelievable feeling, will stay with me forever!
What was your favourite match to play in?
This was a very hard choice as looking back there were some amazing performances. Fa cup win at Brentford was awesome, beating forest 4-3 last minute, Chelsea in the league cup but the big one for me was winning at the molineux! All my family live in an area that is wolves dominant so to see Butts knock one In and beat the best team in the league was brilliant for the players but even more so the fans!
What was your favourite goal?
Probably the goal away at Brentford in the fa cup! We had lost Dean Smith as manager, bit of a sticky period with the change of management etc and I managed to get a run at their back 4 shifted it on my left and bent one in right infront of the Walsall fans! I remember looking up and saw that whole end going mental and ended up winning 1-0! There’s a picture with Milan on my back with the boys and reminds me of what a day that was.
Who was the best player you ever played with?
What a question, sort of impossible to answer haha!Best player though at Walsall was probably Ledesma. He was just different gravy at that level, couldn’t speak a word of English but some player!
Who was the best player you ever played against?
This will surprise a few people but the game against Chelsea at home was an eye opener to those boys at the top. Midfield of Ramires, Loftus-cheek and John obi-Mikel was the hardest game I’ve ever had.. Obi-Mikel never gave the ball away and no one could get within 5 yards of him! Managed to grab Ramires shirt after though.
What was it like returning to the club on the opposing team?
Returning to play the season after with Scunthorpe was such a weird feeling! I was nervous before the game as I knew I would be getting some stick with how the way I left got interpreted. I had been at the club from a very young age before returning at 19 so I have an affiliation with the club and the area with some very good friends still at the club, it’s still the first result I check when we play now! I have been back to play 3 time’s now, always make the mistake of heading towards the home dressing room but I have nothing but amazing memories from Walsall no doubt!
How did the move to the Icelandic league come about?
I went over there when the premier league finished and all the lads go on holiday to a team called haukar. One of the best experiences of my life, was only 17 so was all very new but one hell of a country to visit let alone play some football! 20 hours of daylight.
What are you up to these days?
I’m currently staying at home, working out in the garden and living in these strange strange times! Contract is up at the end of the season whenever that ends so will be an interesting few months on the horizon for sure! Might even get football manager going and get Walsall into premier league!
Final question, do you sign yourself on Football Manager?
Haha yes I do even if I’m at a big team I’ll just stick myself in the b team and the odd game on the bench so i still feel involved. Could even end up fitness coach or something if I reach the year 2030.
Thanks to Sam for answering those, and best of luck when the season resumes.