Name: Andy Williams
Date of Birth: 14/08/1986
Club: Swindon Town
Previous Clubs: Hereford United, Bristol Rovers, Yeovil Town.
What do you remember about your first ever match?
My first start was for Hereford against Woking. I don't remember too much, but we won the game 4-0 and I scored the first goal, which was a nice way to make my full debut. Before that, I had a couple of substitute appearances. I remember one in particular where I came on when we were 3-1 down. I did a few things and we almost levelled. The manager was impressed enough to give me my first start shortly after that.
Who was your childhood hero?
I was quite a big Liverpool fan growing up and I was also very small for my age when I was about 14/15, so I liked Michael Owen. He was also small, so I liked the fact that he had pace, good movement and could cause problems for defenders.
When did you realise you had a chance to progress in the game?
I was a late developer. My first pro contract came a little bit out of the blue. I was playing, and scoring, regularly for the youth team, but back then Hereford didn't promote you through the ranks. I was playing the odd reserve game at that stage but not scoring, so even though I had a contract I didn't feel I was making too much progress. It wasn't until my first substitute appearances that I believed I could do something. I think it was a confidence thing. I'd had a lot of knock-backs in my career.
Which coach has had the biggest influence on your career?
I used to struggle when I was younger because I was a late developer and so I owe a lot to the old coach at Hereford, Gary Stevens, an ex-professional of Shrewsbury Town, Cardiff City and Hereford. He knew how to coach me and, together with my dad, they both had a big influence on me as a person and a player.
What did you spend your first wage packet on?
I was just finishing the last few months at college and was training twice a week with Hereford's first-team. I remember the feeling of picking up that first pay packet and feeling part of the team, although it wasn't for a lot of money. I'm quite a dull person so I wouldn't have done too much with it, I can't quite remember. I think I would have bought a round with my friends.
Does your squad number have a special meaning to you?
When I was at Yeovil I used to wear number seven because that's what I wore as youth team player at Hereford. Now I wear number 16 at Swindon, which was my first number as a professional at Hereford. I think of both as lucky numbers now.
Who did you last swap shirts with?
Jimmy Bullard. It was when I was playing for Bristol Rovers and we knocked Fulham out of the FA Cup. I tried to get Peter Crouch's shirt the other day after our win in the Capital One Cup, but there was a bit of a queue.
How has the game changed for the better since you became a pro?
I think the game is becoming a little bit less physical. In the lower leagues that might not be the case, but certainly watching the Premier League there seems to be less body contact. Nutrition has changed, too. I used to eat anything when I was younger, whereas now I'm really conscious of what I'm taking in.
If you could have coached yourself when you were a teenager, what advice would you have passed on?
Work really hard. It sounds like a cliche but I was always told, the harder you work the luckier you get, and it's so true. That extra 20 minutes or half an hour on the training ground can make all the difference. For a striker, that repetition can be crucial when a chance falls to you on the pitch. Also, pay attention to your diet.
If you stay in the game at the end of your career, what will you do? a) Manager b) Coach c) Scout d) Physio e) Pundit?
I did a few coaching badges when I was a lot younger. I've not touched them since but I was very interested in them at the time. I got frustrated trying to coach when I was still playing; I don't think I had the patience working with young players. But I'd like to stay in football and I'm very passionate about it, plus I think I'll be very knowledgeable about it when my career comes to an end. I know there aren't many jobs available in coaching, though, so I wouldn't be afraid to re-educate myself where necessary.
What do you want to be best remembered for at the end of your career?
I'd hope my team-mates thought I was a good guy and those I played against that I didn't like losing and gave everything. I'd like to be remembered by winning some silverware, too. I had a taste of success at Hereford but I'd like to go on and win a cup and gain a promotion or two.
For all the latest news on Swindon Town please click here