|FC United striker Tom Greaves|
He may not have made it as a professional footballer, but Tom Greaves says playing for FC United of Manchester is close enough.
Greaves, known for being a reliable forward in Yorkshire from spells with Bradford (Park Avenue), Ossett Town, Bridlington Town and Garforth Town, made the move across the Pennines to Gigg Lane earlier this year.
He quickly endeared himself to the FC fans with a hat-trick at Marine and he admits that he is loving life at FC.
“FC is by far the best club I have ever played for,” he told Sports Performer.
“It is not just the fans, it is the way they are so ambitious. They do everything in the right way, you get looked after very well.
“We went to Germany on an end of season tour and (being with FC), it is next best thing to being at a pro club.”
FC missed out on promotion to the Conference North for the third year running at the Evo Stik Premier Division play-offs final stage.
Going into the 2013-14 season, FC are a wounded animal and Greaves admits they are determined to right some wrongs.
“Without a doubt, it is promotion, we’re going out to win the league,” he said.
“Obviously in the last three seasons we have slipped up in the final so we want to go one better and go and win it outright. That’s the aim and that is what we want to do.
“We’re very confident. We play football in the right way. We have not scored many in pre-season just yet, but if we can turn that possession into goals, we’ll give a lot of teams a game.
“It was devastating (at the end of last season) because we felt we deserved to go up.
“We have signed a couple of good lads. We have lost Jake Cottrell, Carlos Roca and Kyle Jacobs, but he (Karl Marginson) has brought in quality and they are just as good, if not better than the lads we have had.”
Greaves is mainly associated for his time with Avenue which have been in two spells.
He broke through the reserves under Carl Shutt in 2004 and stayed to play for Shutt’s successor Gary Brook and then when Brook was sacked, Phil Sharpe.
He returned in 2010 when Simon Collins was appointed as Avenue boss and then was a main feature of John Deacey’s team until the pair clashed at the end of last year during a Conference North match.
However, that does not cloud the memories.
He said: “I loved it at Avenue, I have no regrets.
“With being brought up in Bradford and Avenue being my first club, I’ll always have a soft spot for them.
“I’m not (dwelling on how it ended). I had a little bust up with the manager, but we have sorted things out since then. I just thought the time was right to leave and when the opportunity came to go to FC, it was one I couldn’t turn down.”
While his time at Horsfall Stadium may have ended on a sour note, Greaves will go down in Avenue folklore for scoring, arguably, the greatest goal in their reformed history.
The striker struck the winning goal in the last minute of extra-time in the 2012 Premier Division play-offs final to propel Avenue into the Conference North, at the expense of his current club FC – a moment he will cherish forever.
“It was the highlight of my career before I signed for FC and the best moment of my life,” he added.
“It was an unbelievable feeling and the celebrations to follow were out of this world, it was crazy.
“For me at this level, it wasn’t going to get any better.”