Youth team product Max Hazeldine won’t ever forget his first team debut at Dagenham on Saturday – even if the team performance and result won’t live long in the memory.
The teenage striker came off the bench to play the final 15 minutes in the 4-0 defeat at Victoria Road.
The appearance capped off a month that saw Hazeldine offered a professional contract for next season alongside youth team mates Kealan Steenson and Keenan Quansah.
He admitted that his weekend trip to Essex flew by:
“I got a phone call on Friday morning,” he explained. “I was on my way to train with the youth team and (Academy Manager) John Townson phoned me and told me I’d be travelling with the first team. I was thinking I must be the 19th man in case of any illness or injury and then Michael Liddle and Terry Gornell weren’t travelling so I realised I must be on the bench.
“With about 15 minutes left Jimmy Bell told me to get stripped and ready and I was pretty nervous but dead excited to make my debut.
“There was no time to dwell on it. You don’t know the night before or anything so it just happens. I think it’s better that way. You don’t have time to get yourself worked up or nervous about anything.
“It helped that I’d travelled before. It just means you know what happens, if you hadn’t travelled before then you wouldn’t be sure what was going on. It made it easier to know what I was doing in the hotel and that sort of thing.
“I wondered whether they were going to bring me on because the game was pretty much gone late on and I thought when I came on that I should just run about and make myself look busy!
“I got a lot of texts and stuff like that after the game and everyone in the changing room said well done on your debut. It’s a great feeling knowing that you’ve made your first senior appearance. It’s what you want to do when you are a kid and it’s the first step as a professional.”