Gloucester City goalkeeper writes for Kick It Out ahead of Fans For Diversity fixture
Fans For Diversity will support National League North side Gloucester City on Sunday 31 January for their fixture against Boston United.
Thanks to the Fans For Diversity Fund, a coach will be provided for supporters who wish to make the 20-mile journey from Gloucester to watch the Tigers play in their current home at Whaddon Road in Cheltenham.
Ahead of the fixture, we spoke to Gloucester City goalkeeper Jasbir Singh about his career as a British Asian footballer and the club he joined permanently last summer.
I wasn’t going anywhere fast in school but I was playing for the West Midlands County team.
It was playing for them when I got offered the opportunity to go to Wolverhampton Wanderers for a six-week trial.
I thought I did well in my trial but unfortunately I wasn’t offered anything at the club. However, one of the goalkeeping coaches I worked with also helped out at Shrewsbury Town. Shrewsbury had a scholarship opening and the coach recommended me to the club so I signed for a year.
I started off as the second choice keeper for the youth team but halfway through the season I was promoted to number one and played the majority of the games and eventually signed for another year.
During my second season I was made captain of the youth team which showed how much I was developing at the club. We also enjoyed an excellent FA Youth Cup run where we played at St. James’s Park and against the likes of Chelsea, which was quite an experience.
I have to say thanks to Paul Simpson, who is currently at Newcastle United as a coach. He gave me an opportunity while I was at Shrewsbury to develop a career in football.
I signed a professional contract at the club but I fractured my cheekbone and I was out for three months. That added to the fact a new manager had just come in and before I knew it, I had no future at Shrewsbury.
I went on to join Kidderminster Harriers where I was a number two goalkeeper. As is the case at the lower league and non-league level, managers chop and change, so I soon found myself out of favour once again.
I spent four successful years at Solihull Moors where I played over 200 games and I loved every minute of it. At the end of the 2013/14 season, I felt I needed a new challenge and Kidderminster came back in for me. With them being a level higher it made sense to go back.
Sadly, things didn’t work out again so I went out on loan to Gloucester City. Even though I thought I wasn’t at my best, the fans seemed to really like me so when the opportunity came around to sign permanently this summer I took it; I have enjoyed it ever since.
Gloucester City is like a community rather than just a football club. Considering the club plays 20 miles away from its natural home in Cheltenham there is a great spirit amongst the supporters.
I think if the club was successful more fans would come to Whaddon Road but the club does it best with the resources it has available. At the end of the day Gloucester is a city and if the club were to return to its natural home, it could boost the club to go onto bigger and better things.
It’s really important that we get as many supporters down for the game against Boston United on Sunday. As one of the few Asian players to be playing regularly in English football, I am strongly for promoting diversity amongst players, fans and clubs.
I hope Sunday’s game can encourage a few more fans from all backgrounds to make the journey on a more regular basis to come and see us play.