Bognor hotshot Muitt on his football idols and career - and sharing a pitch with Dunk, Sterling and Loftus-Cheek

Devoted young Rocks fan Jimmy Langton caught up with top scorer Jimmy Muitt to ask him about his career, his idols, his great season, his hopes for the Sussex Senior Cup final - and sharing a pitch with Raheem Sterling but not realising it.

Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 10:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 10:58 am
Jimmy Muitt charges forward against Potters Bar in January - before a knee injury that kept out for two months, but which he has now got over / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Which club have you felt at home with?

I've played for a few clubs, I've played for Brighton, I've played for Lewes a little bit and then come here to Bognor. I was at Brighton for ten seasons, which was nice as I met some really nice people who I am friends with now, which is brilliant.

Training every day is a lot different to training twice a week, so I did feel at home there, but coming here at Bognor felt really comfortable, really at home, the fans are brilliant, the management was brilliant and still is and I do feel at home here, which is a positive. I was at Brighton for a long time so obviously felt at home there. When I went to Lewes I did my knee in, which is obviously not ideal.

Who gives you the most motivation within the squad?

The changing room is brilliant. Obviously the skipper, Harvey (Whyte), in the changing room, he's so funny, he makes everyone laugh. The management, (Robbie) Blakey, he's really good, he motivates you, he really thinks positively and I like the way he handles players and his man-management is really, really good - so, motivation-wise it's probably either Blakey or Harvey because he rallies the troops when you are down and he gets you going which is really good.

Did you have trials at any higher league clubs?

I was at Brighton, and when I left, I trialled at Gillingham. They really liked me there, but unfortunately they couldn't sign me because they didn't have the budget for me but it was a good experience and going out from Brighton to somewhere like that was a good experience., Then I was filtered down to Lewes, then obviously coming here.

Who’s the best manager you have played for and why?

That's a tough one. For me, when Jamie (Howell) was here, he was brilliant, he believed in me when I got a really bad injury, he really believed in me and had faith in me and when I came back, I got to play. He knew what I was capable of and I am forever thankful for that because a lot of managers would have given up on me for being out injured for over a year. That was lovely so when I came here I felt so welcome.

Are there any role models you look up to and why?

That's a good question. Footballing-wise, when I was growing up, I used to support Man United so my role model was Paul Scholes, he used to be my absolute hero, even though he's a midfielder and I'm a winger or a striker.

I just love watching him play, some of the stuff he could do, and liked his aggression on the pitch. I am a bit aggressive on the pitch. I need to work on that!

When I was at Brighton, I used to play with Lewis Dunk, so it's amazing to see him progressing and playing for England, that's quite big. It's nice to see players like him playing for England. I am still young and I could potentially work my way up.

Why did you join Bognor?

When I got my injury I was playing for Brighton when we played Bognor. I scored two goals against Bognor but Bognor won 4-2 in the Sussex Senior Cup quarter-final. I think Jamie spotted me then and when I got released from Brighton, I went to Lewes and Jamie had his eye on me, and got in touch with me and spoke to me and I was over the moon with him wanting me to come here. I think he coached me for Brighton when I was really little and wanted to sign me so that was the reason I came to Bognor, and I am thankful for it and I always feel welcome here.

Which coach do you feel you have benefited from your career up to date?

I was at Brighton for ten years, there was a coach called Vic Brown, he's been there years and years and years, and there's stuff on the pitch that he's taught me and I realise "Vic taught me that" like checking your shoulders, little roll turns on the pitch, or something like that. I always go back to it. He was my coach for so many years.

What’s your favourite colour?

Should I say green and white?! My favourite colour is blue.I like the colour blue but for the record I will say green and white!!!

Who’s your best player you've played against?

I have played against a few talented players, believe it or not. I've actually played against, and I didn't even notice until the other week. I played against Raheem Stirling, when back in the day when he was with QPR, and Rob Holding, who plays for Arsenal. I have a picture with him, it's on his Instagram account. He's got a picture of me up against him! Someone showed me that the other day, I couldn't believe it.

I have played against Ruben Loftus-Cheek so, yes, a few big players, up-and-coming England stars. I used to play against Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal- I didn't know at the time who the players were and now obviously they're big, talented young England stars. It's mental to think I've played against Raheem Stirling as he's one of the best players in the world at this minute in time.

Why did you choose football?

You should ask my mum that question!! I think I went around the park and I just had a love for it, and as soon as I kicked my first football that was it, that was me, never stopping. I drove my mum absolutely mental, always kicking balls, smashing things, absolutely crazy. Football mad I was, I think I always will be and always am.

A lot of players prefer watching it but I am always itching towards playing. Being out injured, Its horrible, it's the worst thing in the world. You just want to get out there and get on the pitch, you just want to make a difference do something on the pitch. Just the love of the game. I'm fanatical about it. Just always have been and always will be. That's why I chose football because I love it and why not?

Who’s the best player you have played with and why?

When I was at Brighton, I used to play with Lewis Dunk and obviously now he's an England international which is quite an achievement. He always was brilliant when I played with him. Such a great character and a great player on the pitch. I think he was here )at Bognor, on loan), once upon a time. I played with him at Brighton and he's really nice and really good character and obviously a really good player. He's probably one of the best players I have played with.

Here, obviously when I play with Doug (Tuck) on the pitch, it's nice because he's always got an eye, he knows where I am going. We have got a chemistry together, which is really nice. I love playing with him when he's on the pitch. We car-share three times a week so we know each other quite well. We know what the other is going to do. It's a pleasure, it's really nice.

Will you be fit for the Sussex Senior Cup final next Tuesday?

On Easter Monday I had half an hour on the pitch, which is so nice. I can't tell you the feeling of getting back on the pitch after an injury. Running, just running, just do a little bit. I nearly passed out after my first run!

I really want to play that more than anything so we'll see - at the moment it's nice to be back on the pitch. It's really good to get some minutes in, get some running in. It (the knee) feels okay at the moment so hopefully I'll get to the Sussex Cup Final, which is local for me, even better. I've got a lot of people coming to watch - the whole family so hopefully I will get fit, get playing, because we are all looking forward to it.

The season has turned very average, to say the least, but the final is something that we have worked hard for and it's something we are looking forward to. Definitely, as a player for me and as a team, it's good to get in the final of any cup and it's good to play at the Amex where I have played before. I am really looking forward to that. Yeah, I’ll definitely try to get fit for that.