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The Jack Midson column: Life at Wimbledon and fond memories of Oxford United

AFC Wimbledon striker Jack Midson starts a new column today. The former Stevenage, Dagenham & Redbridge, Histon and Oxford United striker kicks off with a look back at his past experiences and gives his views on his aims for the future.

Playing for Oxford – and being part of Wimbledon’s history

It's great to be playing at Wimbledon, but for my first column piece for Total Football I'd also like to focus on some of my past experiences.

My favourite moment so far at Wimbledon is probably the first game of the season and just being part of the first game back in the league and being part of Wimbledon's history.

What I miss about Oxford is mainly the ground, it was a lovely place to play home games at and is more like a Championship ground than a League 2 ground. I also miss the whole area of Oxford.

I loved living there and would like to live there again later in my life. The majority of the fans were also brilliant and I miss the massive support at home and away games.

My time at Dagenham was good. It gave me an insight into professional football and I played with some very talented players who became friends for life. The club has changed a lot since I was there although John Still is still manager there.

The Daggers have done really well, gaining promotion to League One, but unfortunately they are sitting near the bottom of the League Two table now. I hope they dont go down - I'm sure they will be ok.

Good experience

I've been on loan a few times to non-league clubs. It helped me to play regular games as I wasn't at the time, and it put me back in the shop window. It helped to get me noticed by other clubs.

Going on loan to league clubs was the best thing for me though, to give me more experience in league football, and get more appearances and goals under my belt.

There is not a lot I would have done differently to get into the league earlier. I never normally regret things, as it could of all turned out worse. Some of my progression was out of my control.

When I was about 18 I started playing regular games in the Stevenage first team and we reached the FA Trophy final.

I was playing well but my contract was coming to an end, and I wasn't picked to play in the final. I can only think that the manager was worried that I was going to play well, get noticed and not sign a new contract.

Maybe that moment could have changed my career path slightly. Also I decided not to go full time at Dagenham when I was about 20 as I couldn't commit financially. Maybe this could have also had an impact on me reaching league football earlier.

Best players – and best grounds

There are not a lot of players I watch and learn from, mainly due to me not having much time to watch many games, as I have football commitments myself. But occasionally I see some highlights of games and see strikers doing something good, and I think I'll try that at training and the next match.

The most talented player I've played alongside is probably when I was younger playing district and county schools football and used to play up front with David Bentley. I also played with Craig Mackail-Smith, who went on to bigger and better things and has been linked to Premier League clubs for a while now.

It is hard to highlight just one goal to call the best goal I've ever scored. But I remember the 30 yard left foot lob that I scored playing for Histon against Oxford that probably got me a move to Oxford and another chance at full time football.

It seems just as hard to highlight just one favourite away ground that I've played at. Bradford is a massive stadium and it wasn't that long ago that they were in the Premiership. Also, Oxford is always a nice ground to go to.

Swindon was also a nice ground to play at and I went to Upton Park last year in the Carling Cup, which was a nice ground to play at. But I've played at Wembley and it doesn't get any better than that.

Big-money clubs – and looking ahead to the future

Most players' attitude towards big-spending teams like Crawley and Fleetwood is not that much different than attitudes towards other clubs.

It is spoken about occasionally and there are rumours about how much money they have and how much the players are on, but to me it doesn't really matter and I approach games against clubs like that in the same way that I do with any other game.

I would like to stay in the game after my career has ended whether it be in coaching or management. I have plans to get as many qualifications as possible to open up more opportunities for me.

I also have plans to play full time football for as long as possible then maybe play part time somewhere to finish my career off and then maybe eventually take over as manager of that club.

By Jack Midson

Follow me on Twitter: @jackmidson

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