16 Jul 2020 in News
Five years on from scoring the goal that led to Curzon Ashton's promotion to the National League North, former defender Simon Woodford spoke to the club about his six years at the Tameside Stadium, and life after retiring from football, writes Rob Glover.
Woodford, who scored during a 1-0 promotion play-off final win over Ilkeston town in May 2015, revealed he felt the togetherness and consistency of the squad was key to a team that won back-to-back promotions, giving Woodford one of his finest memories in the game.
He said: "I had a great six years with Curzon, filled with promotions and cup runs. The 2013-14 season was the start of a brilliant few years, firstly getting promoted to the Evo-Stik Premier Division, and then winning the play-offs the following season. We had a great nucleus of lads that stuck together through that period.
"Scoring the goal that sent us into the Conference North was a great achievement. We played exceptionally well, and Ilkeston were a good passing side like us."
The defender, who hung up his boots in December last year, said that the team had worked on set pieces similar to the one that saw that pivotal goal come to fruition.
He added: "We had planned a set piece routine that didn’t come off, but we got a bit of luck with it, and I saw an opening to run into and I managed to slot it into the corner."
Woodford also recalled the club's FA Cup second round clash with League One side, AFC Wimbledon, as a fixture that will live long in his memory, despite being unsure he would even be a part of it.
He said: "Until 1pm on the day of the game, I had no idea if I was going to make the squad or not, as I was in the process of recovering from an injury for the previous three weeks.
"Regardless of the result, the day itself was awesome to be involved in. From all the camera footage and the supporters, to playing against fully fledged professionals.
"One memory that stands out was when I actually managed to Cruyff turn two Wimbledon players, that's my claim to fame nowadays!" He joked.
Speaking on the club's future and the coming season under new boss Steve Cunningham, Woodford revealed that what he knows of the new management team is positive, especially having worked under assistant manager, Damien Crossley while at Ashton United.
He added: "I’ve been watching the progress intently. Mark (Bradshaw) did exceptionally well in his time as manager, keeping Curzon comfortably in the division.
"Now with Cunny at the helm, with what I know of him, the club have a dedicated, professional manager in place, and also a really nice guy. You also have a great assistant manager in Damien, who I spent time with at Ashton."
Since being locked down along with the rest of the country, Woodford has spent his time enjoying life after football, through his love of both cycling and travel.
He concluded: "I’ve been spending a lot of my time doing road cycling. For a long time, that's been a big hobby of mine, even before football. But now, I’m going abroad and to the Lakes, now that I have more time on the weekends, and in the summer."