Andy Yiadom was open and candid about his rise from Non-League all the way through to the Championship, in The Long Read in Saturday's edition of The Royal!
After being released by Watford as a teenager, the defender has worked his way up the divisions after starting out playing for Hayes & Yeading in the National League, and he offered insight into his experience of playing in football's lower leagues - and it all started through an evening on the tiles...
Here's a sneak peek below!
“Funnily enough, I was on a night out and I heard a guy who I knew was going on an open trial at Hayes & Yeading.
“So, I went along to the trial - obviously it was very gruelling. You’ve come from Watford with a nice training ground and, no disrespect to Hayes & Yeading, but going to the training ground which had a cabin for a changing room and loads of people there, you’re wondering what’s going on.”
Yiadom clearly showed his potential in front of his prospective employers in England’s fifth tier, though, as the potential trialists gradually got whittled down and the full-back was left with a crossroads in his life with a key decision to be made – whether he was going to follow his sporting ambitions, or step away and find another path.
“I was there and going every day, getting through after it was getting cut down after every week or so, and I was still there. The manager, Garry Haylock called me into his room and said he wanted to offer me a deal. I wasn’t over the moon, but I knew it was a start.
“It was full-time because they were in the Conference Premier at that point, but they basically offered me travel expenses – which was around £50 per week."
You can read the full eight-page interview by buying your copy of The Royal at Madejski Stadium this weekend, which is packed full with essential pre-match information, including an extended lowdown of our opponents and club news.
We're celebrating 20 years at Madejski Stadium this year, with our programme covers featuring some of RG2's biggest moments - and this issue is no exception!
Garath McCleary has been working his way back to fitness, and his belting strike against Burnley back in 2014 features on the cover of Saturday's issue.
Hear from Paul Clement and Paul McShane with their thoughts ahead of the game, as well as plenty of quizzes and interesting stories to fill your pre-match schedule!
Pick up your copy from one of our sellers based all around Madejski Stadium for just £3 on Saturday afternoon.