MICHAEL Roberts might just have the best timing of all the Tamworth FC players.
The Englishman made his debut for FC in its recent 1-nil win over North Companions and impressed his coach Wayne May no end, especially as central defender Damien Puyenbroek was having his last game for the side before returning home to Adelaide to continue his upward move in employment.
Puyenbroek wasn’t going to play but heeded a request from May following a boisterous Friday night farewell to help out in a big derby last Saturday week.
They needed everyone too as Companions tested the reigning premiers throughout.
“It was a good win,” May said.
“Two good hard games.”
FC won first grade 1-nil and second grade 4-nil with first grade goalkeeper Troy Osborne scoring twice in second grade.
However Roberts’ debut was a big talking point afterwards.
“He did well in the middle,” May said.
“He will be very good for us when he gets used to the style and has a few tough runs.”
17-year-old Sam Williams also made his fist grade debut for FC and was another star, May said.
“That was a great debut.
“He stood up and did the job at right back.
“Everyone worked hard though, especially the last 15 minutes when Companions threw everything at us.”
Roberts hails from Sunderland although he tells everyone Newcastle, because they know of the major city and the English Premier League side for which brilliant striker Allan Shearer starred.
“I’m just travelling around for 12 months,” Roberts said of his Australian adventure.
“I’m working at the Moonbi Herbalicious Farm.”
How he made his way to Tamworth FC is simple.
“I just googled them,” he said.
He then made contact and, while he didn’t have transport, the FC hierarchy – May and Darren MacKenzie – volunteered to pick him up.
Roberts has played football since he was six and enjoys playing in the midfield where he can make good use of his beefy frame.
“It was good fun,” he said after the win.
“I hadn’t played for 12 months and really enjoyed it.
“And the boys here have really made me feel at home.”
Roberts and his new teammates travel to Armidale to play North Armidale in a heavyweight PL clash tomorrow.
“Guyra United host South Armidale and Inverell’s Joeys FC are drawn to play Demon Knights at home. Gunnedah Hawks and Gunnedah United are both at home, the Hawks tackling Moree FC and United hosting Oxley Vale Attunga.
In the other game, North Companions are at home to Namoi United (combined Narrabri and Wee Waa).