Owen Moxon interview: Carlisle’s assist king on his rapid rise and a first trip to Wembley for the League Two play-off final | Football News

“It’s a bit surreal, to be honest.”

Owen Moxon cannot quite believe he is part of the Carlisle team that has reached Sunday’s Sky Bet League Two play-off final.

Who can blame him? Wembley finals do not come around often. Many are fortunate to get there even just once in their career.

For the 25-year-old, though, this is a surreal moment for a multitude of reasons.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights of the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final second leg between Carlisle United and Bradford City

Sunday 28th May 1:00pm

Kick off 1:30pm

The story starts nine years ago.

“I was here from the age of nine until I was 16,” Moxon tells Sky Sports. “I used to come to games as a young lad as well.

“It was awful when I got released. In the area that we’re from, there’s not a lot of other clubs around, but I just got on with it. I ended up going to Queen of the South and I just wanted to work hard and get back to England somewhere.”

He made his debut for the Doonhamers in August 2015 and also spent time on loan at Gretna in 2008, before signing for Annan Athletic permanently when he was released in 2017.

It was at Galabank where he began to thrive, ironically under Cumbrians legend Peter Murphy, with 2021/22 his breakout campaign.

The 25-year-old played for Queen of the South, Gretna 2008 and Annan Athletic before coming back to Brunton Park

The midfielder scored eight goals and provided six assists in 46 appearances in all competitions as Murphy’s men reached the Scottish League One play-offs – where they were beaten by Edinburgh City – and set a new club record by progressing to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup for the first time.

Meanwhile, Moxon was supplementing his wages from part-time football by working as a delivery driver. It was a means to an end, little more.

“I always backed myself to come back,” he says.

“I had other options before last year to go back full-time in Scotland, but it just wasn’t the right move for me financially. I knew that if I kept doing what I was doing, I should get a chance.”

That chance came when he received an approach from Carlisle. He had been recommended to Paul Simpson by Murphy the day after he returned to Brunton Park for his second spell as manager.

Knowing how Simpson had rejuvenated the club and staved off the threat of relegation after replacing Keith Millen last February, Moxon could not say no.

“I had a few clubs interested, but Carlisle showed that they really wanted to sign me. The change in the city after the gaffer came back was massive and there was such a buzz around the place.

“Everyone loves him. If there was ever a good time to go back to Carlisle, it was always going to be this season.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Carlisle boss Paul Simpson says his side have proved their doubters wrong after securing their spot in the League Two play-off final

That is exactly the way it has panned out.

Moxon has started 51 of the 53 games he has played this term, with his 17 assists in domestic competition second only to Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne. He earned a spot in the PFA League Two Team of the Year as a result.

Did he expect to settle quite so well?

“I’d like to say yes, but the way I think, before the season started, I was thinking ‘what if it goes wrong?’ and I was probably looking at it the wrong way. Once the season had started, I started well and I knew I could continue it.

“I don’t think I’ve played my best football this year; it’s been good, but I still think I can give a lot more. I got my chance and thankfully the gaffer has put a lot of faith in me. Hopefully I’ve repaid him by how I’ve played this year.”

That form helped Carlisle into the League Two play-offs, where they saw off Mark Hughes’ Bradford in the semi-finals, setting up a meeting with Stockport, who were only promoted from the National League last year.

The Cumbrians lost the first leg 1-0, but battled back in the second leg and eventually won 3-2 after a thrilling period of extra-time.

“Everyone just took confidence from the second half of the first leg and we were confident that, at our place, we could go and win the tie. It wasn’t quite the winning feeling, but it wasn’t the feeling you get when you lose a game either,” Moxon says.

Sunday’s final will be Carlisle’s first visit to Wembley since the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final in 2011, when they beat Brentford 1-0. It will also, arguably, be the club’s best chance to end their nine-season exile from League One.

Peter Murphy of Carlisle of Brentford during the Johnstone's Paint trophy Final between Carlisle United and Brentford at Wembley Stadium on April 3, 2011 in London, England.
Moxon’s former manager Peter Murphy, scored the winner for Carlisle in the 2011 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final

Naturally, Moxon wants to play a key role in making history.

“I’ve got vivid memories of that day,” he says. “I didn’t go – I’ve never actually been to Wembley – but I can remember little bits of watching it on the telly and I can remember going down to the stadium afterwards, where there was a celebration on the pitch.

“I don’t think this has properly sunk in yet. The celebrations at the weekend were unbelievable and the stuff that you dream of. I just keep thinking it’s mad how quickly things can change.

“To be able to go and play at Wembley is something I’ve always dreamed of. It’s a massive bonus and there’s no need to be nervous; we should just all be up for the game, give 100 per cent and see what happens, but obviously we want to go there and win the game.

“It would mean everything to me. I’ve got a lot of friends that are season-ticket holders and I know a lot of people who’ve been coming for years and years. It’s something no one could ever take away from me. It would be an honour to be a part of the team that does it.”

#Owen #Moxon #interview #Carlisles #assist #king #rapid #rise #trip #Wembley #League #playoff #final #Football #News

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button