‘In Conversation With’ were articles for the matchday programme in the 1998/99 season in which Dave Tavener interviewed various members of the team. Below is the interview with striker Rob Haworth that appeared in the programme for the Isthmian League match against Slough Town on 12thOctober 1998.


Fact File

Born: 21-11-75, Edgware. Home Life - Girlfriend, Lisa.

Occupation: Driver with A-Z Couriers.

Previous Clubs - Fulham, Millwall, Kettering Town, Aylesbury United .

St. Albans City Playing Record: Debut: 18-08-96, a 4-2 Herts Charity Cup defeat at home to Stevenage Borough.

First Goal: 17-08-96, the deciding goal in a 2-1 home Isthmian League win over Purfleet.

Appearances: 122 (84 League). Goals - 31 (20 League).

One of the hardest working strikers in the Isthmian League is Rob Haworth, this evening Rob talks us through his career and, with a certain amount of fabrication, emphasises his outstanding goalscoring achievements whilst with Fulham before turning to non-league football.

Rob Haworth headshotHow it all began

“I went to Fulham straight from schoolboy when I was about 14 or 15. At the time I was playing for Princes Park in a cup final at Craven Cottage, we won 3-0 and although I didn't know we were being watched a scout came up to me as we came off the pitch and it all moved on from there. I was only playing football for fun really. The Fulham manager at the time was Don MacKay but my Youth team manager was Terry Bullivant. There were some good players in that side, Michael Mison who is now at Rushden & Diamonds, Danny Bolt at Woking and Duncan Jupp now with Wimbledon. Terry Bullivant was brilliant to me; he is great with young kids. He may have been found out a bit with his managerial skills but he is great at bringing the kids through.

You can't beat the life of being with a professional club. I lived right by the training ground, I would get up at 9.30am and be home four hours later after training, it was just a great life. To be honest, it wasn’t always like that, as being in the Youth team we had work to do around the ground including cleaning the boots of the senior players. I used to clean Mark Newson and Udo Onwere boots. Newson played against us on the first day of this season when we won at Gravesend & Northfleet. Being in the Youth team at Fulham they also play you in the Reserves but I broke into the first team during my second year with the Youth team. I played at the tail end of the season in I think it was eight or nine games and scored four goals. I scored on my debut against Brentford at Griffin Park, it was a good experience. I suppose you feel proud after something like that, everyone is talking about you and you cannot really describe the feeling that goes through your head, it may only have been in the Second Division but it was still professional football. I've got the goal on video, there was free-kick on the left-hand side. The ball was whipped in to the back post, I rose above Carl Hutchings and Jamie Bates and stuck it in the bottom comer.”

(The Brentford match, the first in which Rob started a league match, was played on 9 April 1994, he actually made his Football League debut as a substitute during a 3-1 defeat at Plymouth Argyle in front of 15,609 spectators on 28 December that season. The goal against Brentford was, in fact, his only first team goal during the 1993/94 season).

Leaving Cottage life

“The following season saw Ian Branfoot come in as manager and he started with me in the side, I played in the first ten games and scored six times (actually played in nine of the first 14 league games, of which six were as sub, failed to score. Did, however, score twice in four Coca Cola Cup matches and made two goalless appearances in the FA Cup). I thought I was doing well but he brought in Mark Stallard on loan, Mike Conroy and Rory Hamil, and I was pushed to the back of the queue and didn't get a look in. After we went out of the FA Cup to Gillingham it all went down the pan for me. After being released by Fulham I broke a leg but Millwall were kind enough to take me on. I got my fitness back with them but never played in the First team and they put me out on loan to Kettering Town. I played 12 games for them and scored six goals (actually two goals in eight league games - ed) and when my two-month loan finished there I went to Aylesbury United . I remember playing in the FA Trophy for Kettering against St. Albans, I was a sub but remember Kettering won the replay 3-2 at Clarence Park but it was a very tough game. My biggest memory was that it was a very muddy pitch down here.”


“When you drop out of the pro game you think there is a big difference but there isn't really, I suppose the biggest difference is that the full timers are a little bit sharper. Most of the lads in our team have been with pro clubs so they know what it is like. When I went to Aylesbury they were pretty much a midtable side but it doesn't matter who you are with, you want to do well. I haven't won anything yet and I shall be 23 in November so I want to start winning things. The closest I've come so far was to play in the semi-final of the Southern Junior Floodlit Cup against Spurs, Sol Campbell marked me that day but I still scored even though we lost 2-1. The high-point of my career so far probably has to be that goal for Fulham against Brentford and playing at Bristol City with St. Albans in the FA Cup, although we lost heavily it was a great occasion.”

Hustle and bustle

“I know my finishing is my weakness and it is something I have to keep working on. At Fulham I used to stay behind after the other lads went home and I would work on my game. If you are good enough then you will get back in with a pro club. I always give everything and if I get rewarded with a goal then all well and good but as long as the team wins that is fine by me. I think my main asset is my presence - I haven't got any skill - my pace and general body strength, I am just an old-fashioned centre forward.”

Shove it

“I think the way that I play there is a danger that I will get into trouble, maybe I get too worked up sometimes, I just want to win. When I shoved the linesman at Walton & Hersham it was just frustration, I had missed a goal earlier and the linesman was on the pitch in the way as I tried to get to the ball. I knew as soon as I'd done it I was in trouble, you can't raise your hands and expect to stay on. When we went down to ten men against Romford last week we had to roll our sleeves up and battle. Paul Newell misjudged the bounce of the ball but the pitch was so awful it was always likely to happen. I feel that we are really gelling now, everything is coming together, you can sense it in the dressing room as well as on the pitch. It is a good time to be at the club.”


Offsides: “To beat it you have to communicate with your partner. If you are on the blind side they have to tell you otherwise you really have to be aware yourself. People say that with my pace I can afford to give a defender a couple of yards but you do tend to play along the line: You learn with experience and someone like Steve Clark is a good player to learn from.”

International star

“Three summers ago I played for a side called TPS Turku in Finland. We had a really good run when I was out there, we played six games and won the lot. I scored twice (will have to take your word this time Rob - ed) and we had a good laugh. It is not something I would look to do every summer but it was a good experience, everything out there is so different to over here. They are semi-pro but they try to be professional, and you just cannot do it if you also have a proper job.”

Rob Haworth continued to play for St Albans until the end of the 1999-00 season when he moved into the Conference to join Garry Hill’s Dagenham & Redbridge. After scoring twice in eight league games Rob moved south of the river and returned to the Isthmian League to join Sutton United. He enjoyed two productive seasons at Gander Green Lane scoring 23 goals in 65 league games. After leaving Sutton he led a nomadic existence that took in stops at Hendon, Maidenhead United, Gravesend & Northfleet (Conference, 2003-04, 22 games, 6 goals), Maidenhead United, Metropolitan Police (two spells), Carshalton Athletic, Margate, Dartford and Tooting & Mitcham United. A popular player at Clarence Park , he was tempted back to the fold by manager David Howell for the 2011-12 season, when City were in the Southern League. His final appearance of that campaign saw him reach the 200 mark for the club (56 goals). During that season he also played one game for Leatherhead.