Read the full interview with Stuart Moore which featured in last weekend’s edition of Red Dot...
Stuart, how have you found the season so far?
“It’s been an enjoyable season so far. As a team, we want to be as high up the table as we can be so it was important, after a tough run, that we got back on track and it feels like we’ve done that. We’ve been working hard in training to make sure that we make this a successful season.”
How do you think you’ve fared when given the chance this season?
“I knew when I signed here that it would be difficult to get into the side with two good goalkeepers in Lee [Nicholls] and Wieger [Sietsma] ahead of me. Lee is a very good keeper so I knew I had my work cut out to get a game, but it’s brilliant playing recently and hopefully I can continue to do that. I’m just striving to be the best goalkeeper that I can be for the benefit of the team.”
Are you somebody that is ultra-critical of your performances? Do you spend a lot of time analysing your performances?
“I look at everything I do, what I’ve done well, what I didn’t do so well and where I can improve my game - I’ll dissect all of that. As a goalkeeper, it’s very difficult to not get caught up in errors and to remain positive. I think you can be overcritical of yourself, and I know some that don’t want to look at the game they’ve just played because of that. I think you need to find the right balance between the two. If you’ve made a mistake, of course you need to look at it and see how you can improve, but you have to move on so quickly because the next shot to save could be moments away.”
Let’s touch on Lee Nicholls. How important has he been for you in recent weeks?
“I’m so appreciative of Lee and everything he does. He’s been exactly the same with me in training throughout the whole season. He’s been so supportive of me. We both want to play, but we are both there to work for each other. We want to push each other to be the best goalkeepers we can be. That forces us to up our games and helps the team out.”
The “Goalkeepers Union” here at Stadium MK seems as close-knit as ever - how important is it that you all get along?
“It’s massive. I’ve been very lucky with the keepers that I’ve worked with during my career that we’ve all got along and it’s happened again here. We’ve got a very good group here, everyone wants to help each other, and we constantly push each other in training to get the best out of one another. The support from Mel [Gwinnett] and the other keepers has been brilliant.”
Why do you think goalkeepers form a special bond?
“I think it’s because we are really the only ones that understand the position properly. We all understand the pressure we are under - that if you make a mistake, nine times out of 10 it ends up in the back of the net. You’ve got to be so switched on all the time. You could have nothing to do all game and then make one mistake and you’ve lost the game and everyone moans at you. It’s a tough mental position that I think you’ve got to be very strong-minded to play. I think that’s why everyone is so close together because they realise what it’s like when you’re out there.”
You mention being mentally strong - you had a number of loan spells in non-league at a young age. Do you think that helped you mature as a goalkeeper?
“Without a doubt. I was thrown into men’s football from a very young age. I went on loan to Hungerford Town when I was just 16 and that’s where I learnt the traits of my game. I had full-grown men pumping the ball into the box and clattering me, and it really helped me to grow up. I played a lot of games in non-league and hopefully I have many more to come in the EFL too.”
After you left Reading as a youngster, you made the switch to Barrow, which is a long way away from home. Was that a big decision to make?
“It was a huge decision, not only for me but my family too. I was going through a sticky patch at the time and moving hundreds of miles away from home was a difficult decision, but it was one that I felt I needed to make for the sake of my career. I knew I would be going there and getting minutes and that’s all I wanted to do, to be honest. It was a real wake-up call into the world of semi-professional football. In the professional game, there are a lot of things that you can take for granted, so stepping outside of that made me realise just how much you miss them.”
You’ve played a lot of Under-23s football this season - how important has that been for you in making sure you’re match-fit and ready for first-team action?
“As a goalkeeper on the bench, you don’t really get the chance to come on and get game time so it’s massive for goalkeepers to play in them matches. Every day you are working hard in training but you see things differently in games and its massive to get that experience.”
What swayed your decision to join MK Dons back in August?
“It’s a massive Club and I saw a great opportunity here. Speaking to the staff here and seeing the plans they have in place over the coming years, I wanted to be a part of it. We’ve had a few bad years but everyone is working hard to turn things around and push this Club up again. Tis [Paul Tisdale] is completely different to any other manager I’ve ever played under. He’s very detailed in everything he does, which is brilliant. If you’re not sure on something you can go to speak to him about - technically, tactically and, on a personal level, he likes to make sure that everything is right. It helps you when you’re on the pitch because you’ve seen it so many times in training that you know what to do. To be honest, he’s just a genuinely nice guy and I think that’s why a lot of people come and play for him.”
How important and impressed have you been with the MK Dons fans this season? They racked up 700+ miles last week and got behind us at both games?
“They’ve been massive for us. For me, fans are a key component at any Club. The more they get behind us and the more noise they make, the better it is for us on the pitch. It could be any minute in the game where we need a lift, and when you hear them singing it does just that – it gives you a boost. They had two long away trips last week and the support at both was amazing. We are pleased we could give them what they deserved in terms of points. It’s very important to stay connected with them. We are one Club - that’s the fans, the players and the staff. Everyone comes together because we all want the same thing. If we do well, it’s not just the players or the staff that celebrate, it’s the fans - everyone deserves their fair share of success.”
You currently live with teammate Conor McGrandles - what’s he like as a housemate?
“He’s a great guy! We like all the same stuff, we listen to the same music and it makes your time at home a lot better when you’ve got the place to share with someone you get on with – it makes life a lot easier.”
Your brother is also a professional goalkeeper - Simon Moore. It must provide you and your family with great pride that you are both playing professional football?
“It’s something we always worked towards when we we’re younger. You dream about it as a kid but you never think it’s going to happen. Both me and my brother are very lucky that we have a supportive family. Our parents travel from the Isle of Wight to watch us play and support us all the time. Growing up, that support was massive for us. They took the time out of their life to make ours more successful. I’m very lucky with the family I have.”
How did you both end up playing in goal?
“It was never really forced upon us. My Grandad and Dad were both goalkeepers and I think we just took that on. It’s come from playing in the garden and getting muddy making saves. I loved diving around saving footballs. It’s nothing that was ever pushed on us - we both just love it.”
Is it helpful having someone so close playing in the same position in the same profession?
“One hundred percent! We speak to each other every day about any problems we have, and we are very open with what’s happening. We give each other feedback and our thoughts on different things such as distribution or shot-saving. I talk about it, not only with my brother, but with my family. I think it makes life a lot easier as I have people to discuss things with.”
Who was your footballing idol growing up?
“It was probably my brother, to be honest. He’s someone I look up to massively and someone I’d go to watch play every week. I’ll be honest, I just wanted to be like him.”
Away from the game, what do you do with your time off to take your mind off football?
“I do like playing a bit of golf but don’t play as much as I should. I like going back to the Isle of Wight to see my family. I also enjoy watching my girlfriend perform. She is a Show Jumper. It’s nice having my girlfriend in sport because we can bounce off each other. We both have to be very dedicated to our careers - it can be a challenge but it also helps. We both understand the sacrifices we’ve had to make. There are obviously so many differences between the two sports but there are also a lot of similarities in our careers, we both work hard for what we want.”