This time last year, it was probably fair to say that Dan Wordsworth’s Reds’ career was at a low ebb.
It hurts me to say that but the player himself admitted he had ‘let standards slip’ and his overall play and discipline was poor.
Fast forward a year and his redemption is complete. In a truncated season, Dan was one of many star performers in a team that were table toppers for all but three weeks.
It was the Dan Wordsworth we knew from his first six seasons at the club, a tough-as-teak defender who gave everything to the cause and more.
And having spent eight seasons at the club, equally divided either side of a gap year in Australia, Dan is part of the furniture but how did he become a Red in the first place?
“I was at Carlisle United from U12s through to first year pro then out to Kendal Town on loan – a move that became permanent. I then took a year out of the game before being asked by Andrew Hewson (Dabba’s brother) to play for Harraby Catholic Club.
“I started to enjoy my football again and made some very good mates in the process. Edmo (Darren Edmondson) invited me down to Borough Park after a couple of seasons there and here we are.”
It was in the pre-season of 2011 that Dan was introduced to the Workington supporters and a ‘man-of-the-match’ display against Hartlepool United was a good enough start. My lasting impression of that game, however, was a wreckless tackle on Peruvian royalty, Nolberto Salano. I don’t think he has sent Goose a Christmas card since!
We asked Dan to reflect on the 2019-20 season. Here are his thoughts:
“Being a part of such a good group of players and staff was very satisfying and a personal highlight was scoring the winning goal at Trafford last August.
“The home game against Ramsbottom United and the match at Kendal Town were probably our best two performances of the season but our display in the return at Rammy was, in my opinion, the worst.
“The best individual performance was Tinners’ display at Tadcaster in the last game of the season – a true captain’s performance.” Praise indeed from the defender who has skippered Reds no fewer than forty times himself.
One of the most amusing comments Dan made referred to Brad Carroll’s hat-trick at Kendal “three goals consisting of deflections or tackles was pretty impressive”.
Much has been said about the superb ‘dressing room’ we created but who are the characters in there?
“Everyone will know this already but Dav is bonkers. He can’t sit still or keep his mouth shut for more than two minutes. In contrast, the shrinking violet would be Brad Hubbold.”
Dan also paid tribute to the Workington supporters, particularly those who travelled to most away games in numbers.
“I think the fans deserve a special mention, especially the ‘party bus’ who have got us over the line so many times this season on tough away days. The following down at Kendal was very impressive and the lads really appreciated the support throughout the season.”
And what about the new lifestyle we are having to get used to?
“It’s very strange and I don’t think I will ever fully adapt to it but everyone is in the same boat so we just have to crack on. My sanity is still intact but not sure for how much longer.
“The firm I work for have everyone working at home which has taken some getting used to. Sitting at a makeshift desk next to your Mrs for eight hours a day is always going to be tough.
“I spend time playing chess – not many people know this but I was Under 13 county chess champion, one of my proudest moments. I usually go for a run every day plus the odd kettle bell session.”
The final question to Dan the man was how many keepie-uppies he had managed with a toilet roll?
“Haven’t even tried it, wouldn’t want to embarrass myself. I’ll stick to heading and slide tackles.” Dan, top man.