Danny North’s 49th minute winner on Friday night against Monaghan United at Gortakeegan helped the ‘Bit O’ Red’ retain their second position behind Shamrock Rovers in Airtricity Premier League. Earlier in the week it was North’s late penalty which saw the Sligo side through to the semi-final of the Setanta Sports Cup, against Crusaders. Here the Grimsby native tells SportsNewsIreland of his football journey from Grimsby to Sligo via Alfreton Town and St Patrick’s Athletic.
North is an accomplished goalscorer with 15 league goals for St. Pat’s in 2011 and Sligo will be looking to him for ‘more of the same’ this season. He began his career at his hometown club Grimsby Town,where he was very highly rated by the club’s fans and by the then Manager Alan Buckley.
The club’s financial situation however meant that he was one of four players whose contract was not renewed so he had a brief spell with Alfreton Town in the (English) Conference North. The Grimsby man then moved across the Irish Sea ,where after two successful years at St Pats, he is now hoping to play a major part in keeping the Sligo men at or near the top of the Airtricity League this season.
SportsNewsIreland: First off, thank you for agreeing to this interview for SportsNews Ireland.
Danny North: No problem – a pleasure!
SNI: How did your move to Sligo Rovers come about?
DN: I got a phone call from (former St Pat’s Manager) Pete Mahon saying that Sligo were interested in me and Paul Cook was going to ring me. He rang me before the Cup final which showed he was really keen on signing me. So it all went from there really.
SNI: After two years there, were you saddened by the news that you would not be re-signing for St.Pats?
DN: It was my decision to not sign back for Pats – the club were taking far too long to even get in contact with the players. I would have definitely considered signing back as I enjoyed my time there and it was definitely the best spell of my career so far.
SNI: You made your professional debut back in Feb 2005, how did that feel walking out as a fully-fledged Grimsby Town player?
DN : Making my debut was very special, as it was for the team I grew up supporting and its where I’m from also. We lost the game but it’s a moment I will never forget!
SNI: You completed your first senior hat-trick back in 2007. How did it feel managing to grab 3 goals in that game vs Barnet, which ye won 5-0.
DN: I finished that season really well, in my first as a first team member. To score a hat trick at home in front of the Pontoon Stand was a dream come true!
SNI: For the 2008-09 season, you struggled at the start with fitness and injury. How much of a setback was that? And to then fall out favour with ‘new’ manager Mike Newell.
DN: It was a massive set-back as I had a really good season the year before. I was always playing catch up with the others and the manager wanted to bring his own players in so it was tough and hard to take.
SNI: In June 2010 you joined St.Pats, were you delighted to have came over to Ireland and play for a top team?
DN : It was an opportunity which I was looking forward to. The club were top of the league when I signed, and although we fell off the pace, it was still a good season.
SNI: You finished that season with a total of seven goals, were you delighted to grab them chances?
DN: I was happy with my goal return for the season, I didn’t want it to end to be honest. I didn’t start at first which was understandable but then I got my chance and I felt I took it well.
SNI: You captured the (St Pat’s) Supporters Young Player of the Year award last year – were you pleased to have won this award?
DN: I was delighted to win that because it shows the fans appreciated what I had done that season.
SNI: You signed for Sligo most recently, how excited were you to get going?
DN: I couldn’t wait to get going, Sligo play football the right way and are improving each year. I was signed up for them by the end of November so it was a long time waiting to get going but once it came round I couldn’t wait to get over.
SNI: How has the start been for you, both pre-season and the start of the ‘new’ Airtricity league campaign?
DN: Pre-season was tough mentally because of the ongoing situation with the manager going and waiting for a new one to come in. I scored a couple in pre-season and have scored a couple now the season has started, so I just hope to carry it on and help us towards some trophies!
Under another former Grimsby Town stalwart, Ian Baraclough, North is looking forward to another fine season for the ‘Bit O’Red’ and no doubt they will both also take the opportunity of discussing their days at Blundell Park in Cleethorpes home of home of ‘ The Mariners’. Sligo fans though will be looking to them both – and the rest of the squad – to see them win major honours in 2012 and qualify for Europe again.