Exclusive: “This is Gloucester City we are talking about!” Andy Hoskins speaks to Severn Sport

Andy Hoskins is a name that Gloucester City supporters should be synonymous with; and if it isn’t already it should be soon.

That’s because Hoskins has been brought in by new Tigers boss Mike Cook as a part of his backroom team, as City look to fend off relegation from the National League South this season.

With the Tigers reportedly returning home at some point during the 2019/20 season, Cook and his management team face an uphill battle to keep the club in the division for their return.

Hoskins is a Gloucester City legend and one of the most prolific goalscorers in the club’s history, averaging just under a goal every other game during his 170 game spell with the club across six seasons.

Severn Sport had the opportunity to sit down with Hoskins and we are delighted to bring you a feature length interview with the Tigers new Forwards Coach.

So Andy, back at Gloucester City after so long away, what’s it like to be back at the club?

It’s fantastic to be back. Everyone has been amazing and given me a really warm reception. A lot of things have changed since i was last here as a player in 2004 but the one thing thats is exactly the same is that everyone who is involved with the club wants it to succeed and the work that goes on behind the scenes is phenomenal from what I have seen in the last week.

I always felt as a player that I had a great rapport with the supporters and so far with the messages I have received from them hopefully that will continue. There is a lot of hard work ahead but the important thing is to keep the club in the league that we previously worked so hard to get in to against all the odds.

How did it actually come about, coming back to the club? Were you aware that Mike wanted you as part of the staff when he applied?

Well, it was a total bolt out of the blue to be fair. Cooky, Baylo [Karl Bayliss – player recruitment] and I came to watch the Weston game which was a total coincidence with what has developed this week. It was only Monday lunchtime that Cooky rang me and asked if I was sitting down! It was weird but I just had this sixth sense and I said to him: “Jesus you have applied for the City job haven’t you?!”

He started to laugh and said “Yes and I want you to come with me”. At that particular time talks were still ongoing between him and the club but he was basically sounding me out to see if I was interested. I had a bit of time to think about it and discussed it with Jo, my partner, straight away and later that night.

I gave it some serious thought but this is Gloucester City we are talking about! That along with Cooky’s infectious enthusiasm it didn’t take long for me to agree to come along. Anyway it was confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Cooky was the successful applicant so here we are.

How do you now go about planning ensuring City don’t get relegated this season? It’s a tough ask with the club in the situation it’s in.

With an awful lot of hard work, simple as that. Cooky knows what he is talking about and as long as the players listen to him and what the coaches say we have a chance. We want players that want to be here and play for the club and are prepared to roll their sleeves up and fight and scrap for every ball as well as each other.

Confidence is obviously a bit on the low side, which is understandable based on results, so it is up to the management team to get some confidence back into the lads. They are all good players but just need to start believing that.

Based on what we have seen so far in training on Thursday the attitude of the lads has been great and they worked really hard. They need to take that on to the pitch and treat every game like it’s their last. By that I mean giving 100% and putting bodies on the line.

That’s enough for what’s in the immediate future, now we want to know about the past. Your memories playing for the club – talk us through some of your favourites!

I have got so many great memories of my time at City, there really are too many to mention! If you mean highlights of games then the goal against Chippenham in the FA Cup at Meadow Park stands out along with the goal against Banbury when Baylo nodded it down and I volleyed it in from outside the box.

The spirit of the team we had back then though for me is what football is all about. To be honest there were teams in the league that had more natural ability than us but none of them could match our desire to win and battling qualities which is what gave us promotion to the Southern Prem.

Burnsy [former player-manager Chris Burns] and Cooky worked miracles with a very modest budget and knew how to get the best out of everyone. Playing at Meadow Park and scoring in front of the die hard supporters in the T-End is something that still gives me that shiver down my spine when I think back and it would be great for the players of today to experience that same feeling.

Now, a less than sweet time: One of your last associations with the club was actually against them for Shortwood United. Talk us through that game and that experience, knocking your former team out of the FA Cup.

Ah yes the FA Cup game! There were mixed emotions to be honest. It was a game that Shortwood were definitely not supposed to win, despite beating Tiverton 3-0 in the previous round.

Shortwood’s confidence was pretty high and the players had real belief that we could win. For me it was a bit strange playing against the club where, not only did I have good times, but it was also the club where I really had some success personally and as a team, including the FA Cup game against Chippenham I mentioned, but I was now a Shortwood player and I did everything I could to make sure we could win.

The game itself was tough and I actually broke my big toe on my right foot in the 1st half in a challenge with Lyndon Tomkins but adrenaline got me through. James Singh scored the first goal and I was able to score the second!

Shortwood ran out 2-0 winners but for the last 20 mins or so it was like the Alamo with wave after wave of attacks. It was an amazing game and even more of an amazing result which brought in some much needed revenue for a club like Shortwood.

I was actually quite emotional after that game, which had only happened once before which ironically was, again, that FA Cup game for Gloucester against Chippenham. On that occasion Lee Jeffries was giving me a proper man hug which was better than him threatening to bite my nose off which he used to do when he played for Clevedon against me!

Gloucester City are in action against Hungerford Town at the Jubilee Stadium this afternoon, with Mike Cook having four new faces available for selection after he completed a quadruple signing yesterday.

Zack Kotwica, Fabien Robert, Ryan Law and Harry Hodges have joined up with the Tigers squad as their battle for National League South survival continues.

 

In October 2016 Andy Hoskins was named number 3 in Kelsey De Maria’s Top 5 Gloucester City players, check out his profile right here.