Summer signing Shane McLoughlin recently sat down to chat with Derek Quinn.
How was your time at AFC Wimbledon?
I enjoyed it at Wimbledon I must admit. When I went in there when Wally Downes signed me, the club was struggling at the wrong end of the table and we were looking at relegation in the January, but then we went on a great run and ended up staying up which was an unbelievable experience for my first full whack at men’s football.
I think we had a fantastic run of results in the final 12 games, and we clawed our way back up to safety and survived on the last day of the season which was a fantastic occasion.
In my second year there we didn’t get off to a good start, but we survived again because the season was cut short because of COVID, and we stayed up on the points-per-game average rule which was a bit strange but great for the club.
Overall, I had a good two and a half years there. I was lucky enough to play at the new stadium which was fantastic for the club but unfortunately for me I didn’t get to play there in front of fans.
I could tell the first game at the new stadium was a special day and you could just sense how big a moment it was and a lot of people behind the scenes deserved that day for everything they had put into the club.
AFC Wimbledon is a special club to be honest. With the fans owning it, there is a good feeling around it and, at the moment, I can only imagine it’s buzzing.
I’ve spoken to a few people recently and they are loving having the fans in the stadium and the club does seem to be on the up.
The game against Sheffield Wednesday a couple of weeks ago was a superb occasion and the ground was buzzing. As the gaffer said, I don’t think it was our best performance but sometimes you are due a piece of luck. We have played well in a few games that we have not got anything from so I think we were due that fortune and it was a great three points. We defended well and didn’t give them many chances at all so overall I think we deserved our good fortune.
Tell us a bit about the start of your career?
I started off at Ipswich and was there for more than six years from my youth team days.
I moved there from Ireland when I was 16. It was a tough transition for me to make that switch at such an early age, but I think I developed a lot both as a footballer and a person whilst I was there.
I went there very much a kid, but I was 21 by the time I left, and I was a man then. It was hard for the first few weeks but after that I settled pretty quickly. I know a lot of people did suffer from home sickness, but I was pretty much OK and settled well there.
It must seem a bit strange for you that in our first six games you have played your two former clubs?
It is pretty strange when you think about it but it’s just a game at the end of the day. It was a bit more strange playing Wimbledon as I know a lot more of their players compared to the Ipswich days and have played with them.
How are you enjoying life at Morecambe so far?
I’m definitely enjoying it. It’s been a hectic start with a lot of games coming in the first few weeks of the season and a tough pre-season.
On a personal level, it was a bit of a tough transition for me to move up here and get sorted but I feel like I’ve settled in very quickly with all of the lads and the staff and I’m really enjoying life at the moment.
It was good to have Ryan Delaney here too as he is someone I know well from his days at AFC Wimbledon.
I used to live with him there so it was good to have a friendly face to help me settle down and then Shayon Harrison came in as well who also played for AFC Wimbledon last year so there are a few ex-Dons at the club now.
How did the move to Morecambe come about?
It was whilst the club was on the pre-season trip to Worcester, the club asked me to come and train for the week. I needed to keep myself fit and get some sharpness, so it seemed like a win-win for me.
I was obviously looking for another club myself and if I did well, I might get a deal and if things didn’t work out at least I had gained some fitness which would stand me in good stead.
Thankfully it all worked out and it was a good week where we were able to get a deal sorted.
How pleased are you with the way the season has gone so far?
I am pleased but I also feel that we could have more points than we have, and I still look back at the cup game against Preston where I still feel that after we pulled it back to 2-2, we could have gone on to win the game.
There have been some good games and good performances, but I definitely feel we have left some points out there and it is up to us to try and go on a good run and add to our points tally.
It’s a very tough league and there is not a lot between any of the teams, but I think we have more than enough to get some good results.
The goal now is to keep playing good football and building on the win against Sheffield Wednesday to keep picking up points on a regular basis.
Are you happy with your own form?
I’m pretty happy so far with the way I have played, but I feel there is still a lot more to come, particularly in terms of creating chances and maybe scoring some goals as well on top of that.
We have a lot of good players, and you can’t help but learn from people like Toums who has been incredible. I remember him at Ipswich when I was there as a kid but I’m not sure he will remember me because I’ve changed a lot since then.
He’s great to play with because he helps you through games.
You can always give him the ball and even if he has 10 players standing around him, he will still come out with it, he is that good and you can’t help but learn from someone with his experience.