10 years service at Highbury
Nathan Pond says he couldn’t of asked for anything more after putting in a Man of the Match performance in his testimonial game against Preston North End on Saturday.
With the sun bearing down on Highbury, 1889 fans, friends, family, former team-mates and former manager, Tony Greenwood, paid tribute to Pond for his 10 years of service to Fleetwood and he also received a standing ovation after he was substituted in the 85th minute in the 4-0 win over his hometown club.
“Hometown club, great support and a 4-0 win. What more can I ask for?” The defender said after the game.
After Pond and the team’s great performance, the 28-year-old took time out to catch up with former players and Tony Greenwood, who first brought him to the club back in 2003, over a few celebratory drinks after the game.
“I had a chat with them before the game and I went up after the game to catch up and have a drink.”
Despite it being centre half’s day, Pond wanted to treat the game like any other with less than two weeks to go until the start of the new season and told his team-mates that he wanted to go out and win the game regardless of the occasion.
“Even though it was a testimonial game and all my friends and family are here, I have been telling the lads I really wanted to win this game and do it properly because the season starts in two weeks. It was a good test for us because they are in the league above so I wanted to go out there and do things right.
“When they went down to ten men that obviously changed the game a little, but I thought we was doing well up until then and other than I thought it was a good solid performance all across the park.”
Pond went head-to-head with former England striker Kevin Davies, who recently joined the Lilywhites after his release from Bolton this summer, and despite the striker playing in the Premier League as little as two years ago, Pond held his own and kept the striker quiet.
“I thought I did all right, he’s a big strong lad and it was good to play against him. He has been a Premiership player, got a lot games in the Premier League so it was good to test myself.”
Fleetwood’s latest signings stood out in their first game in front of the Highbury crowd. Antoni Sarcevic and Steven Schumacher both got on the score sheet and were two of five new faces in the starting line-up.
Pond was partnered by Mark Roberts at the heart of defence with Stephen Jordan playing at left-back and Pond was impressed by his partners in defence.
“Jordan at left-back played really well, he played centre-half in pre-season a few times and has been training with us a long time now since the end of last season, so he knows all the lads and Robbo has come in, he’s a commanding centre half and I thought we played well today as a back four.”
Pond thanked the fans for their support following the game and looked back on how every aspect of the club as grown in the time he has been there.
“They have given me fantastic support since I first started here. When I first came there was only about 90 fans here and it has grown massively but I want to thank them once again for their support over the last 10 years and long may it continue.”
More events are expected to be held to celebrate Pond’s testimonial year with a number of dinners being and Pond is urging the Cod Army to get involved.
“There’s other events, there’s a players dinner and sportsman’s dinner and the fans are welcome to get involved and show their support and have a chat with the players and former players.”
Fleetwood kick off the new season in less than two weeks when Dagenham & Redbridge travel to the Fylde coast and Pond says he is looking forward to getting his 11th season with the club underway.
“I can’t wait to go now, when I went on loan at the beginning of last season so I feel like I am behind times and I want to go out and get it going.”