KP: Being second choice made Magpies switch easier

DEPARTING goalkeeper Kevin Pilkington admitted the decision to hang his gloves up and become Notts County goalkeeping coach would have been that much more dificult had he still been number one at Kenilworth Road, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd February 2012, 9:20 am

The 37-year-old played 11 league games in a row recently, keeping six clean sheets, before losing his place to Mark Tyler despite a shut out in his final appearance against Mansfield.

Pilkington said: “It was disappointing, it’s not nice to be dropped especially after keeping a clean sheet.

“Had I still been playing the decision would have been a bit more difficult, but with me not playing at the moment, it made it a lot easier.

“I wouldn’t say it was rushed (the decision), just forced upon me with the opportunity to do what I want to do in the future, coming a couple of years earlier than when I thought it would.

“I was gutted about packing in playing football, but that’s the way it is.

“I can’t keep playing forever although I’d like too, but hopefully in this job I can keep going for a lot longer and I’m still involved in football which I love.”

Pilkington made 33 appearances in total for Luton, and 15 this year as he continued: “My record at Luton stands up, it’s good.

“I think I was a good professional, always gave 100 per cent, even if I wasn’t playing and I hope I was liked and respected.

“I’ve had a lot of messages off the fans, they’ve been superb and all wished me good luck.”

The keeper had plenty of praise for the staff at Luton too after the chance to move into a role he had been planning too in the future came around quicker than even he expected.

He said: “It’s come out of the blue. I didn’t find out about the job until Sunday and got offered the job on Sunday so it was very quick but crazy.

“It’s what I want to do though, it’s the future for me.

“I’d just like to thank everyone at Luton for the way they’ve handled it all. With me ringing up on Sunday and saying, I’ve got this opportunity.

“They were first class with me, the manager was different class and said I won’t stand in your way.

“It’s the same with Gary Sweet. I got a lovely message off him on Monday night, he was superb, wishing me all the best.

“I even got a text message off Nick Owen and I wasn’t expecting that.

“So everyone at Luton has been superb and I really appreciate all the help and support over the last two and a half years.”

The change of roles came around for Pilkington when Magpies boss Martin Allen was dismissed on Saturday, while County appointed his former Mansfield boss Keith Curle on Monday.

Pilkington also has a strong connection with the Meadow Lane club too, having played almost 150 games for County between 2005-10.

He said: “It’s a club that’s very close to my heart. I know the club inside out and there’s a lot of staff still there who I know, so it made the decision a lot easier.

“I played under Keith at Mansfield Town. I was captain there, so I enjoyed working with him.

“We kept in touch and then the opportunity arose. I know what a good man he is and what a loyal man he is, so I thought, yes, let’s go for it.”

Even though Pilkington has now officially retired, he still hopes to turn out now and again in reserve matches if called upon, plus the legends games for Manchester United, while he retains the hope of one day increasing his Magpies tally too.

He added: “I’ve got 149 appearances for Notts County, so one more would be nice. I think the legends match is on again this year, so if invited I’ll hopefully play in that and get the gloves back on.”

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