In Depth With: Connor Oliver

In this latest feature, the Northern Premier League sits down with some of the new faces that will feature in the league in the upcoming campaign. This week, we spoke with Morpeth Town signing, Connor Oliver.

The Highwaymen confirmed the signing of the midfielder, who featured for Gateshead last season, for the 2020/21 Northern Premier League Premier Division campaign last week.

The 26-year-old began his career at Sunderland as a teenager, leaving school and going straight into the youth set up.

“I loved every minute of it and I thought I did very well there, but just couldn’t find a path to the first team like a lot of my teammates at the time, so I had to find a different path,” said Oliver, reflecting on his time with The Black Cats.

“I did two years in the youth team before doing three years as a pro, then headed out on loan at Hartlepool which I also loved.”

Oliver, who has seen his new side play in recent years thanks to living in the local area, then moved onto the seaside, signing for Blackpool FC alongside teammate David Ferguson.

“I made my first team debut at Hartlepool in League Two and got the man of the match award against Plymouth, so that gave me a taste for first team football which is why I decided to leave for Blackpool to play regular,” he said.

“Again, I loved my time there. I made my Championship debut and went on to make many more appearances in the Championship and League 1. I met some great lads who I’m still friends with to this day, so I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”

While at Blackpool, Oliver also enjoyed time with Morecambe on loan before making a move to the National League with North Ferriby United, before featuring for Halifax Town and Blyth Spartans.

“Stepping down to the National League, at the time I was very sceptical because it was the lowest level I had played at in my career,” an honest and open Oliver said.

“But after the first game, I loved it. It took me back to the real reason why I started playing football in the first place and I got back to loving my football again.

“Adding to that, I quickly realised how good of a standard it was and that drove me on. I played some of my best football as a player in the National League.

“Then, dropping down to National League North, I loved that also and the last two seasons I’ve made the play-offs with Blyth and Gateshead, so hopefully I can go one further with Morpeth and get promoted.

“Gateshead is a great club with a great group of lads. I loved every minute of it. What the chairman and others have done to get the club back on their feet is brilliant. I had a great season there, my highlights being scoring two in the local derby along with getting the club into the play-offs.

Now an official Morpeth player, the Newcastle-born player has enjoyed just over a week of training with the club and is looking forward to the season.

“All the above being said, I made the decision to sign for Morpeth; a club on the up and I can’t wait to get started. It’s a great bunch of lads, a few of which I already know and I can’t wait to get started and try and help push the club forward.

“My personal goals are the same as ever. I want to play as many games as I can, stay fit and score as many goals as I can, which will hopefully help the team to get promoted which is my ultimate goal here. Most of all, I want to enjoy every minute of it and the rest will follow.”

Where next?

ESPFA launched The Northern Premier League Football Academy (NPLFA), the Southern League Football Academy (SLFA) and the Isthmian League Football Academy (ILFA) have today merged to become the Education and Semi-Professional Football Academy (ESPFA).
Basford sign former Notts County youngster Basford United have announced the signing of Alex Howes on a two-year deal, with an option for a third year.

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