Super Simon cutting it with the Blades!
An Isle of Wight footballer, who was once rejected as a goalkeeper by Southampton for being too small, is now standing tall with pride, writes Peter White.
Simon Moore, who grew up in Lake, and played football as a youngster for Brading Town, has been part of the Sheffield United team that has swept to the League One title. It means Simon and his team mates will be playing in the Championship next season, the second tier of English football, and just one step away from the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Now an imposing 6ft 3in tall, Simon attended school at Newchurch Primary, Lake Middle and Sandown High, and also played for Farnborough Town, Brentford and Cardiff before joining Sheffield United, known as the Blades. And he has certainly been at the cutting edge this season, turning in many eye-catching performances that have included 16 games without conceding a goal.
He said: “It was a bit frustrating at Cardiff because I didn’t make too many appearances, so when the opportunity came up to join Blades it was one I couldn’t turn down. It is a big club and promotion means so much to the fans and the city of Sheffield.
“This is the best moment of my career so far, without a doubt. I had lots of happy times at Brentford, playing at Wembley twice, but this beats it all.”
Amid the euphoria, Simon has never forgotten his Island roots, and still keeps a close eye on Brading’s results. He said: “Brading manager Steve Lawton is one of my best and closest friends, so I always make sure I find out how they get on. I was at the club until I was 17, so that was my football upbringing.
“My dad Phil also played for Brading, and was their manager, so it was great that he and my mum Bev were at the game at Northampton (pictured above) when we clinched promotion from League One to the Championship. Mum and dad have always been so supportive, so it was a great day for all of us.”
As a 12-year-old, Simon went for a trials with Southampton, but was told he was not big enough to make it as a keeper. Later, he even flirted with a career in golf, but that lasted only six months before he concentrated on succeeding at football, and his efforts have now brought the rewards he deserves.
Simon’s younger brother Stuart is now impressing with League Two side Luton, and many of their relatives and friends still live on the Island. Simon is planning a happy return here this summer, saying: “It will be great to catch up with everyone, before I go back to Sheffield to begin training for next season.
“I am so looking forward to playing in the Championship because some of the grounds we shall be playing at are among the best in the country. It will great to test myself against some historic clubs like Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest and Derby County. It will be a huge challenge, but one I am relishing.”