FORMER York City goalkeeper Pete Jameson has admitted that, at the start of his career, he did not think he would get a chance to play in the Football League.
Jameson signed for York in 2019 from Blyth Spartans, having formerly played for Consett, South Shields, Sunderland RCA and Darlington with whom he had to balance football duties with wider work.
He was one of the pivotal players for City last season as they were promoted to the Vanarama National League.
The 29-year-old has since joined Sky Bet League Two side Harrogate Town, who unveiled the former Blyth goalkeeper as a new signing at the end of last month.
When asked if he thought he would have the opportunity to play within the top-four tiers of English football when beginning his career, Jameson replied: “To be honest, no.
“I started playing at teams in the Northern League and then got my chance at Darlington then I went to Blyth.
“At Darlington and Blyth, I had to work and also play. You’d be working from seven till five and then going to training and then playing on a Saturday.
“To be where I am now, it’s a really good feeling for myself.”
“I worked for Sunderland City Council and I worked in factories too. And that’s normal life. I know that once football finishes for me, I’ll go back to that.
“I’m not in the Premier League where they’re making so much money that they can retire.
“I’ve spoken to Steve Watson since the move. He was the person that brought me into full-time football, which was an amazing feeling because I personally think it’s the best job in the world.
“I’ve worked with some great people, like Colly (Andy Collett) and Mark (Goodlad).
“It was pretty surreal going into full-time football with York and then now going into the Football League.
“When I was younger and playing in the Northern League and working, I didn’t think that opportunity was going to come.”
Jameson was a consistent presence for the Minstermen in their promotion campaign, appearing in every regular season match for City as well as their three play-off games, conceding just 51 goals and keeping 15 clean sheets in all competitions.
The 29-year-old is now relishing the chance to compete in the Football League.
“It’s massive,” enthused Jameson.
“ I always wanted to achieve that, to play in the Football League. And even now, from having this chance at Harrogate, I still want to improve and get better and play higher, I’m not settling.
“I just want to improve all the time and I think that’s in my personality and character. I want to be the best I can be.
“I know that football is a very short career, so I wanted to take the chance because chances to go into the Football League don’t happen very often.
“I knew at my age too, I turn 30 next year, that this chance was a big one.”
Looking ahead to his time with Harrogate, Jameson will be competing with Mark Oxley for the number one role.
Oxley signed for Town ahead of the 2021/22 term, having spent five seasons with Southend United.
He made 40 appearances for the Sulphurites last term and will offer competition for Jameson at his new club.
“Competition is always healthy to have,” noted Jameson.
“At York, I had Ryan (Whitley) and Maison (Campbell) to battle out with.
“Nothing is guaranteed. I have to go in there and prove that I’m good enough to play.
“The hard work starts now. Whoever does well in pre-season, that’s who will get the number one shirt, so it’s going to be good competition.”