Evan Maley joined Pollok in the summer, with the 25 year-old midfielder arriving from Open Goal Broomhill. Following a head knock against Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the third game of the season however, he only returned to the side against Saltcoats Victoria yesterday and marked the occasion in emphatic fashion, scoring two goals and being selected as the sponsor’s Man of the Match!
He arrived with a strong pedigree, having turned out for clubs in the SPFL, Lowland League and West of Scotland League, and sat down with us to answer some questions about his youth career, his introduction to the Juniors, and what it was like to feature in a fly on the wall YouTube documentary!
Let’s help the Pollok fans get to know you a bit better. Which teams have you played for before and what kind of player are you?
I started my youth career at Kilmarnock where I played for nine years from the age of eight. From there, I signed for the under 20s at Stranraer where I made my senior debut. After an initial loan spell, I signed with Troon and then onto Glenafton and St Cadoc’s. After that I signed for Dumbarton and then last season was spent at Open Goal Broomhill.
I would describe myself as a quick and direct player who likes to work hard off the ball and link with the forward players to create opportunities for the team.
You came through the ranks at Kilmarnock as a youngster – what did you take away from your experience of being at such a well-established top-flight club?
It was a great setup with some real quality players. At my age group, the likes of Greg Taylor, Greg Kiltie and Adam Frizzell all broke through from our team so it was a really talented side.
I learned so much especially in my later years at the club from some top coaches such as Manuel Pascali, Kris Boyd and Gus McPherson who taught me a lot about the game at a young age. It was a great environment to develop in and learn from the ex-pros.
Your first introduction to the Junior game came at Troon. How did that differ from your experience with Kilmarnock and Stranraer, and did it take you a while to adjust to that environment?
It was certainly different in terms of style of play and physicality wise but it was a real learning curve for me. I think with it being my local club I embraced the opportunity and enjoyed my time there.
You were a member of the St Cadoc’s squad during their first senior season in 2020-21, in a campaign that was never completed due to Covid-19. As a player, what was that season like playing in front of no supporters and with social distancing still being enforced?
I actually signed with Glenafton at the start of that season and then they decided to withdraw from the league that season. Southy (Craig McEwan) ended up getting the job at St Cadocs and took most of us with him which was great for me. It was really strange playing with no crowds and with the constant Covid testing, but I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play when others were stuck at home. The guys at St Cadocs were brilliant with the whole squad and really supported us all during a tough time.
You spent the last 18 months at Broomhill and were a regular during their solitary season as Open Goal Broomhill which brought the club a lot of attention. Was this a positive experience for those at the club, and how did the increased scrutiny affect the players?
I loved absolutely everything about it! The standard of training and style of play that Si Ferry implemented suited me perfectly and I learned so much from him. The only disappointment was that we didn’t achieve what we had hoped to with the squad. There was a lot of pressure on us and constant negativity online for everyone to deal with which was a new experience for myself, but I have so many good memories and it is great to be able to look back on them in the documentaries.
When did you first hear of Pollok’s interest in you and what was your reaction?
I actually spoke to a few clubs in the summer along with clubs from other leagues. Through conversation, I had mentioned to Zee (former Pollok defender Craig Menzies) that I was looking to move on from Broomhill. He was my captain at Glenafton and St Cadocs and I had a good relationship with him and a lot of respect for him. He asked if he could pass my number to Stewart Maxwell and it moved pretty quickly from there. I was aware of how big a club Pollok is and as soon as the offer came it was a no-brainer.
You have moved to a club in transition, but one that comes with a lot of pressure. How do you handle those expectations from the support when you are on the park?
There are a lot of new faces but it’s a great group of boys who are all desperate to bring success back to Pollok. It’s essential that everyone involved with the club sticks together as much as possible to move forward. We are all well aware of the expectations at such a big club and are eager to show the fans how good the squad is.
After a lengthy lay-off as a result of a concussion, you returned to action in the 13-0 win against Saltcoats Victoria and scored twice in a Man of the Match display! How important was it for you to get off the mark and how did it feel to play a part in Pollok’s record victory?
It was really important for me to be involved again and get minutes into the legs. I was also happy to get off the mark competitively for the season and can hopefully continue to score moving forward.
Finally, what are your ambitions for the season, both from a personal point of view and for the team?
We have managed to get ourselves into a great position with positive results and performances recently. The boys have been flying and we have good quality players in the squad who will push each other. As a group, it is about continuing that form as much as possible and seeing where it takes us come the end of the season.
From a personal point of view, I need to build on a positive performance from the Saltcoats game and try to cement my place in a team that is in top form. It is a difficult time to come back from injury with how well the boys have been doing, but hopefully I can offer something different and help us achieve more success.
Evan Maley is still available to sponsor for the 23-24 season. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!