Marvin Brooks celebrates his first ever hat-trick (Photo Credit: Andy Orman)
Originally Published 16/04/16 on South Coast Journalism
Whilst most people involved at Tatnam Farm will remember this day for the rest of their lives, there is a little bit more for goalscorer Marvin Brooks, who bagged his first ever hat trick to put Poole into the Vanarama National South next term.
“[When] the header that got cleared off the line by someone’s hand, I thought it was never going to happen, I thought I’d been taking the penalty – the gaffer is really trying to stitch me up this season [instructing Steve Devlin to take the penalty, subbing Brooks off v Paulton, and moving him outwide against Chesham.] But another penalty came about, and I managed to get it – I’m chuffed to bits to be honest. “
The penalty was finely taken – dispatched beautifully into the top right corner. But was it pre-planned? According to the man himself, it certainly was:
“I’ve never taken a penalty in a game before – I knew where I was going, I wasn’t going to change my mind. I was just really, really pleased to get us over the line and chuffed to bits we’ve eventually done it, because three years we’ve been waiting, we’ve kind of fallen short. Been very close last year – I had to watch that, and it was heartbreak for me. So, I’m really pleased for all the boys and myself.”
During Brooks’ time at Tatnam Farm, the midfielder has seen many promotion campaigns come so close – including the defeat at the hands of Steve Claridge and Gosport in 2012. But all of that is now in the past as the midfielder reflects on the mental torment that he suffered after that game.
“The three years prior was hard. The playoff final (2012 v Gosport), where we got it taken away from us so late, it broke me for weeks and weeks.
“Some people don’t realise how much it affects our lives, and to get that, to get the win and get the hat-trick eventually – I’ve never scored a hat-trick before, and what a time to get it!”
Brooks’ teammates shared his enthusiasm, and also offered him praise. Richard Gillespie, who played just in front of Brooks on the day, drew the foul that presented him with his hat-trick chance.
“Well I’d have liked to have scored a goal or two, I had a couple of good chances, but at the end of the day it’s all down to the team winning. I’m chuffed for Marvin, because I think that’s his first hat-trick ever.”
“From a personal point of view, you get to a point where you feel like you’re not contributing to the team.
“But to actually be involved today, and to do all the ‘donkey’ work for Marvin today so he can score three goals, I’m quite happy with that. It should be the other way round next year!
“But to be honest, I just love playing for Poole Town, I just love being in and around the club, being involved. I can’t believe, how unfortunate I’ve been this season on a personal level. I’d never have predicted to have missed so many games.
“At the same time, it’s one of those things – because it’s life. You just have to get your head down. Most people in and around the club don’t actually see most of the stuff of what I do, on my own, away from the football club. Getting fit, going to see physios, doing all my own sort of stuff.
“It’s because I know I’m in and around something that’s very good. I’m in a team that’s winning, I’m in a team that has belief. And when you’re in that – it’s not often you’re in that. I’ve been in non-league for loads of years now, too many years and it’s not often you’re in a club with that sort of mentality. So, you don’t want to miss out, you want to be involved. I’m so chuffed to be back.”
With his personal injury hell just about over with, many would expect the veteran striker to be cautious when he has been fouled – but ‘Mr. Goals’ isn’t particularly worried when he gets taken out.
“I don’t go into games thinking I’m going to get injured. Basically, the guy has given me the worst dead leg ever – I’m still feeling it now, and he has fouled me – simple as that.
“But the referee has said I’ve dived, so what do you do? What, literally can you do, if the referee said you dived when you’ve been fouled? There’s nothing you can do.
“So, it’s just one of those things. The goalie got sent off late on in the game – I wish he’d stayed on his feet so I could have gone round him, a nice little tap in, but that’s just the way it is. Big picture, we won three nil.”
With the league title wrapped up, many would presume this would be the perfect environment for Gillespie to earn match minutes – but the man himself is slightly less optimistic.
“Chances are, because I’ve barely played for the last god-knows how many weeks and months, I probably will not be in a position or a state of fitness to be able to make much of an impact on Tuesday, I’ll imagine I’ll still have very tight legs come Tuesday!
“But I would love to play, Saturday, I want to play every week, and I feel, because I’ve missed so much of the season I want to play as much as I can, so fingers crossed.”
With Gillespie raring to go, Michael Walker is in a similar position – but the influential centre half is suspended for the rest of the season.
“It’s hard. To be quite honest with you, when we go day-in-day out, when we play on the Saturday’s and Tuesday’s, it’s sort of hard not to be a little bit nervous, especially on an occasion like this today, but it was all confidence today in the changing rooms – we just sensed it, this last month we’ve been superb, we’ve been consistent.
“We showed great character over the last nine months, and even last season, towards the end – even though we dipped, last game of the season, we’ve been superb.”
“We’ve got to be strong in depth, and that’s what it’s all about. If the club like this, and we’ve not got people chasing for, and fighting for places, then there is something wrong. Especially after being up there, and what the gaffer wants, and the bar is there week in week out.
“I think the best thing about it is that from one to eighteen, is that we stick together – there’s no division in our changing rooms, and that’s what we want, and that’s how the gaffer sets it up and it’s been brilliant.”