“I’ve always kept in contact with Gary Sweet and I’ve always looked at the results. I know people say that, but I always have done it.”
- Cauley Woodrow discusses Kenilworth Road return
- Memories of his time as a young Hatter
- Ambitions for the season ahead
Cauley Woodrow went on a trip down memory lane after completing his ’emotional’ return to Kenilworth Road and hopes to fulfill the lofty ambitions he has set out for the new season.
11 years after leaving the club to join Fulham, Woodrow has returned to Bedfordshire on a permanent deal from Barnsley and recalled making his debut for the Hatters over a decade ago.
“To be playing my football back where it all started, it is great for me.
“I was at school at the time, and it was a time when I was doing quite well for the Under 18s and I remember my mum got a phone call saying I need to train with the first team because the club are thinking about putting me in the squad for a cup game.
“Obviously I was buzzing, couldn’t really believe it. I made my debut against Welling United away and all my family were there. It feels like a million years ago, but it was a great moment. I made a couple of appearances after that, played at Kenilworth Road and it was an amazing time.”
He continued: “Football and life goes past so fast and you forget the things you achieved as a young player, and like you say, I’ve come back in the room today and seen the ball up there that I was part of a tournament abroad and we managed to win it. I completely forgot about it until I’d seen it, so it’s amazing. Brings back good memories and good times here, something I’m obviously grateful for and times that I look over in my career and be proud of.”
Woodrow later went on to make his international debut at Under 17s level whilst at Kenilworth Road – the first Non-League player to be called up for an England age group side since 1974 – and once more recalled an ‘amazing memory’.
“I had played a few games for Luton in the first team and I remember getting the call from England saying they were going to call me up, and it was at the time where Luton were in non-league and the other players were at top clubs – Liverpool, Arsenal and teams like that. Amazing memories again, something that I look back on fondly.”
His shirt from that Algarve Tournament – in which he played against Germany, Portugal and Romania, scoring on his first start against the latter – is signed and framed on the wall of the John Moore Lounge, something he stumbled across whilst visiting as an opposition player .
“When we (Barnsley) played here last few seasons, we were getting dressed in here (John Moore Lounge) because of Covid and then I’ve seen the shirt up there, I didn’t even know it was there to be honest. It is amazing to see it on the wall and obviously something I thank the club for putting it up there.”
The now 27-year-old is keen to help his teammates build on last season’s sixth place finish in the Sky Bet Championship and admitted: “As a footballer, a football club and staff like yourself, all you want to do is play at the top, be at the top and work at the top. If they aren’t your ambitions then you are probably in the wrong job.
“For me coming here, I’m not going to sit here and say that it’s going to be easy, but that is our ambition. It is every player’s ambition, the club’s ambition and hopefully we can fulfill that.”
Looking ahead to the day when he walks out onto the Kenilworth Road pitch once again, Woodrow said: “I can’t wait. All my family will obviously be here and the fans, they are the heart of the club. Over the years it has been quite a hostile place to play as an opposition player, but hopefully now the fans will have my back and I can show what I’m about as a player for them and repay them with good performances, goals and wins .”