From full time plasterer to full time footballer at the age of 25, that’s the story of Jack Muldoon who made his Dale debut in last week’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie against Walsall.
The forward, who started out as an apprentice at Scunthorpe United, spent eight years playing non-league, following his release from the Iron as a teenager, while working as a plasterer.
After a successful trial period at Spotland, Muldoon signed his first professional contract in May, but was unable to start the season after sustaining a groin injury just a few days into Rochdale’s pre-season training camp.
After a three month lay-off, and five months after his last game of football, the former Worksop Town striker made his debut for Keith Hill’s side last week, something he was delighted to do.
He told Dale Player: “The last three months has been a bit up and down due to my injury, so it has been hard. However the Gaffer, the backroom staff and everyone else has been patient with me, which has been great.
“I felt embarrassed [when I picked up the injury] because obviously the Gaffer had given me the opportunity. Your head goes all over the place but the lads were great! They told me to keep going, to keep doing my work, keep doing my exercises and that I’d get my rewards.
“It was such a good feeling to get on the pitch and it’s a different scale from what I was doing last year when I was playing in front of three hundred people.
“The game and the players are so much quicker and that much stronger, but after a few touches I thought I settled into the game. And it’s all about getting that fitness by playing 90 minutes – if I can get them [the 90 minutes] in the reserves then it’s great because I need that edge when it comes to game time. It’s all well and good having it in training, but it’s different in games.”
And Muldoon admits his life has changed completely over the last five months.
“I was starting work at six o’clock in the morning and wasn’t finishing until half five at night. I was carrying 80kg plaster boards around building sites with big rigger boots on, so it’s a bit different! But I thought I had worked hard for it [the opportunity] after eight years of playing non-league, and to get it at 25-years-old is a bit out of the ordinary.
“I think about plastering sometimes – I always see little cracks in ceilings and think that I need to go over that,” laughed Jack. “But in all seriousness I’d choose football all day over plastering.”
The full interview is available on Dale Player.