WHEN Sam Wood risked missing out on the chance of an extended trial with a league club he had a pretty good reason.
He had a full-time job - and he needed the money!
Fortunately for the tenacious wide midfielder, he did get an opportunity to go back and was signed up pretty sharpish. So, at least his pocket didn’t suffer.
That initial opportunity was offered by current Millers boss Andy Scott when he was in charge at Brentford.
Wood initially played for Kent club Cray Wanderers (who claim to be the world’s second oldest club after Sheffield FC), and then Bromley where he was spotted by Dagenham but he turned down their offer after pre-season training with them.
“I’d always wanted to play league football but thought that I’d be picked up between 18 and 21 and when I got to 21 well...” said Sam.
But then Brentford came calling.
“I thought I’d give it a go and, without any training, went and played in a friendly,” he recalls. “I did well and they invited me to train and I did so for a week.
“But I had to go back to work - I was working in a shop in the Bluewater Shopping Centre - because I needed the money. I couldn’t train full-time.
“They persuaded me to go back, it was pre-season, and they signed me on pretty quickly, I was over the moon,” added Sam who then made his debut on his 22nd birthday.
That was in August 2008 and he could hardly have envisaged the success which was to follow that season because he helped Brentford to the League Two title.
“I was shocked at such quick success to be honest and I’ve had more highs than lows,” he said. “I’m a player who gives his all and I do my best and, hopefully, it can come off.”
His move north this season from Brentford was sparked by Scott’s call.
“It’s nice if the manager has faith in you,” he said. “If he’s coming for you all the time it knocks your confidence but if he’s with you then it gives confidence.”
Wood has mainly played wide on the left but has showed his versatility by doubling up at left back.
His place will come under threat when Gareth Evans is fully recovered from a back problem, Evans having made an impact out on the left in the first half of the season.
Even so, if he is out of the side, Wood has a claim to be in the matchday squad with his ability to cover two positions.
The Millers are back in action on Friday at Southend.