New Hibs signing Christian Doidge determined not to become another ‘sob story’

Hibs new boy Christian Doidge has revealed how he determined not to become “one of football’s 1000 sob stories” after seeing a dream move to Bolton Wanderers crash about his ears.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 9:21 am
Christian Doidge celebrates Forest Green's National League play-off final win overTranmere at Wembley Stadium in 2017 Pic: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Signed on loan from Forest Green Rovers with the intention of having the deal made permanent a few months later, the 26-year-old had gone as far as putting down a reservation fee on a new house in Greater Manchester.

But with Bolton facing financial problems and having had a registration embargo imposed upon them, Doidge found himself at the centre of row not of his making - and on his way back to League Two Rovers.

Having worked on building sites and been on the dole only a few years earlier, the chance to join Bolton was, he said, “unbelievable,” the opportunity having arisen thanks to the 62 goals he’d scored in the previous two seasons with Forest Green, including a strike in a 3-1 win over Tranmere Rovers in Wembley play-off which took his club into the Football League for the first time in their history.

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In a recent interview on the New Lawn club’s website, he recalled: “I was obviously really excited but at the same time, leaving Forest Green was going to be tough because I had my best experiences in football there.

“Career wise, I’m not getting any younger and you have got to take those opportunities when they are given to you.”

However, Doidge had a sense of foreboding almost as soon as he stepped through the doors at the Macron Stadium, admitting he should perhaps have done a little research before agreeing to the switch.

“As soon as I signed and spoke to the boys, you have that worry straight away. They explained to me the issues they had had off the field, you get the banter in the changing room and it made me pretty aware of the situation.”

Doidge managed one goal for the Trotters, an equaliser away to Rotherham before facing the inevitable return to Forest Green amid the media storm which had erupted around him.

Admitting it was tough initially, the Welshman quickly realised moaning and sulking about what had happened wasn’t going to help. He said: “It was tough when I got back and I had other things going on behind the scenes that made it even harder.

“Luckily I had good people around me who helped me out. For every football player you meet there’s about a thousand sob stories. You just have to get through it, get on with your job so I just tried to get over it quickly and concentrate on the football.”

Doidge did exactly that, scoring a further ten goals before the season was out, bouncing back and showing the resilience displayed earlier in his career when he was let go by Bristol Rovers academy at the age of 15, an experience which saw him turn his back on football completely at the time.

“At that point in time, I never thought in a million years that I would be playing professional football,” confessed Doidge who actually took up basketball, proving to be good enough to represent Wales in the European Championships in Malta before gradually falling back in love with football, playing with local club Croescyceilog AFC, in Gwent.

And so began the journey via Barry Town - 26 goals in 30 appearances - Carmarthen Town, Dagenham and Redbridge, Forest Green, where he scored at the rate of one every second game, and now Hibs.