Back in August we visited Tooting & Mitcham United and remarked- in this article- about the incredible number of Terrors stars making the step up to the professional game. Well now there may well be another, as Hady Ghandour is currently on trial at Charlton Athletic, and Charlie Rowe from the club caught up with him recently to ask him a few questions. Read on!
How has this down period been for you and your training?
This period, to be honest, has been boring to say the least. We get a weekly programme from Charlton with different running/sprinting sessions/core sessions/body weight/ leg and upper body sessions. No down time though, training pretty much everyday to keep fit and get fitter!! It’s a good opportunity to go even further fitness/speed wise so I'm trying to take advantage of that. Nothing beats football though.
Hady Ghandour- image by Sam Conquest
You played over 30 games for Tooting & Mitcham last season and scored some vital goals for the club. What is your evaluation of your performances as well those of the team?
Last season was a tough but very enjoyable first season in senior football for me. I have to thank the gaffer’s- Ash and Cornelius- first for trusting me at eighteen years old to play my part. I think I repaid that trust after the positive result at Egham, ha-ha! To play over 30 games was vital experience gained for me especially aged 18/19. Performance wise, I think I did well, the 2-2 draw with Bracknell and me scoring the equaliser, as well as the 2-1 win vs Waltham Abbey where I scored 2 stand out the most; especially the latter as if I remember we were level on points and looking to break into the play offs. In terms of the season just finished, my performances got better as the season progressed. I sort of hit a wall mid-season and I was on the bench for 5/6 games. As much as I didn't like being on the bench at the time I think it was important for me, as when I got the chance again I was hungrier and I began scoring again. A big thanks to the fans for their patience with me throughout the season. I’ll never forget the miss vs Harlow away that would've won us the game, but they stayed patient with me and backed me even more which really motivated me and pushed me on.
Arguably your best personal performance was when you scored four goals away at Chertsey Town. Did you wake up that morning knowing everything you touched would turn to gold?
Yes! I’ll never forget that Chertsey game, my first senior hat-trick and another goal to add to that. To be honest, I remember that day waking up thinking I wanted to make the difference in a big game (I knew how big that game was given where we both were in the table and what we were both fighting for). I had hit the post many times before that game and I knew it was only a matter of time before they started flying in, and thankfully on that day they did. It was a surreal feeling especially with the good following we brought, and to celebrate with them was brilliant. Big credit to James too for that penalty save- it changed the game and we really dominated and kicked on from there.
You forged a good relationship up top with Danny Bassett, how much did you enjoy playing with Danny?
I love playing with Danny. I have been for about 3 years now and we always naturally had some sort of link up. His pace is unreal and you can always rely on him to score- especially when the team needs it the most. He really helped me when I was going through a rough patch this season so I really appreciated that.
The season has had ups and downs, yet we had a blistering start, with a notable win against a Conference South team in the FA Cup. How was it being in the team and around the club during that period?
Beating Dorking was massive, especially for a team 2 leagues below. We were very confident going into that game and throughout the week in training we had a good feeling we could cause an upset. We know the quality we have and it showed in the result. Even after going down to ten men it showed our character as a team to defend solidly and work tirelessly to seal the win. It was a brilliant feeling and the vibe was so positive after that, especially for me as it was exactly one week after my terrible miss at Harlow. What a difference a week makes!
You are proving to be another young player destined for big things from the clubs’ academy, like Isaiah, Sam, Odoh and Lexus. How much motivation was it for you to see your peers moving to pro clubs?
Of course, it was a huge motivation to see those players I played with make the step up into the professional game. I felt like I play better when I don't think about the future, focusing on the team, working hard for the team and getting results was my only priority for the season, anything else would be a bonus- and thankfully this opportunity with Charlton came up which I'm very grateful for.
You have recently been on a trial period at Charlton Athletic, how was your development under Jason Euell there?
My time so far at Charlton has been brilliant. Originally it was a one week trial, however I did well so it got extended 2/3 times before they said they wanted to keep me until the end of the season- and we will take it from there. Jason has been a huge help, especially being a forward himself and playing in the Premier League. I’ve learned a lot from him and I hope to learn even more hopefully!
Do you have a message for the Tooting & Mitcham fans during this down time?
My message to the fans: Stay safe, stay at home and be sensible (I’m sure everyone is doing that!). Enjoy time with the family, and rest well. Football will hopefully be back as soon as possible but at the moment this matter is more important, and we should focus on getting through this safely so everyone can get back to enjoying Saturday 3 PMs!
I hope to see all of the fans very soon once this is done, and a massive thank you for all the support for me and the team during the season. You enjoyed the ups with us and stuck with the boys during the downs, we really appreciate your support and the noise you make both home and away, it really does give us a lift and allows us to give a little more when were tired.
Quick fire questions for a bit of fun
Player that you think you resemble in the Premier League?
Player I think I resemble? I’d love to say Firmino (although I wish I was as good as him), but mainly because he does a lot for the team despite not scoring as often as Salah/Mane.
Quickest player at the club? Danny Basset by far.
Toughest? Rooney (Daryl Coleman).
Funniest? Probably Dontai/Deano
Moment from last season that sticks in your mind?
Northwood away with a last minute goal- it was a scrap, and to score the winner after coming on was a great feeling.
Home game with the best atmosphere? Dorking/ Northwood with that last minute 2-1 win.
Best away ground? Best in terms of facility is Bracknell for me. In terms of my favourite it’s Chertsey. I always scored there with the Under 18’s and have a great memory from there this year with the first team.
Fan questions –
What did you miss the most and least about Tooting & Mitcham United while you have been at Charlton?
I miss the Saturday 3PMs a lot to be honest, and the team/managers who I've been with for 2/3 years. Miss least? Probably finishing training late evenings on Tuesday (if no game) and Thursday. It’s refreshing to finish the day by 3/4PM and to get to spend those evenings at home. There’s nothing the club can do about that though! It’s the nature of Non-League football.
What are the top 3 goals you have scored? You can include the under 23 goals too!
1: First goal vs Waltham Abbey in the 18/19 season. I enjoyed that with my left foot.
2: Carshalton away this season. It was nice to give us the lead, and more pleasing to score with my left foot too.
3: Chertsey Town, my third goal (my 2nd header of the game)- just because I had been working on my heading and was happy with how I directed it into the net (great cross from Bass though!).
Images courtesy of Sam Conquest.