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The Fall From Plaice - Part 10

By: Gainsbro Mariner
Date: 22/03/2013

DAVID Soames, known as Digger by all, was an exciting young prospect who was prematurely flung into the fold in late 2002. Little was known of the young Grimsby-born forward when he was added to the squad before an away match against Crystal Palace.

Soames, although standing around 5ft7, give an inch or two had the type of build that a WWE wrestler would have been proud of. The short stocky little striker was blessed with shoulders that duped you into thinking that Paul Groves had stuck American Football pads on him. Soames was the type of nippy forward that would stick his head down and motor around causing defenders all sorts of problems, to be fair he probably didn't lift his head as much as he should. In hindsight he carried himself a lot like Carlos Tevez, a small terrier-like but muscular striker who would be snapping at defenders ankles...unfortunately that is where the comparison ends. A problem with Soames was that he seemed to suffer from over-acceleration, with his body travelling faster than his little muscular legs could take him.

Boxing Day 2002 posed a tough and tricky away game at Pride Park where Derby County were certain to take all 3 points against a relegation-threatened Town that were in real danger of slipping further. To add to Town's worries they had lost the last meeting between the two sides a few months earlier and were in the middle of a festive injury crisis. Surprisingly Town went on to grab a 3-1 win, with a double from loanee John Oster that was eventually capped off in the last minute when Digger, who had only been on the pitch for 3 minutes, motored towards the goal before rounding Derby keeper Lee Grant only to trip over his own feet but in the split second we all thought he had screwed it up he managed to salvage the stumble enough to poke the ball into the back of the net.

After the Derby game a lot of Grimsby pondered that the home grown teenage pairing of Soames and Darren Mansaram could be the key to salvaging the 2002-03 season? But inevitably a move to re-sign Michael Boulding limited Digger's chances and he found himself a fringe player for the rest of the campaign. During the relegation clash with Stoke City a couple of months later, Digger caused The Potters all sorts of problems and having been sent through on goal he looked sure to net his second goal only to be poleaxed, with the offending player sent off. Over the next couple of years Digger struggled with several injuries that limited his performances until the 2004-05 season where he seemingly became part of Russell Slade's plans...briefly... an inability to score goals seemingly frustrated The Pontoon. I can remember numerous opportunities he had to get the monkey off his back but it often ended with him blazing a short wide or into the 'keepers arms, all of this after wrestling past two defenders to get into a goal scoring position.

The summer of 2005 rolled round and Digger was told his contract wasn't going to be extended, however Slade had offered him a second chance by preparing to take him back for pre-season training, but Soames inevitably had decided to leave Blundell Park and rumours circulated that he had accepted a trial with York that if true or not was not successful as a month or so later he began the 2005-06 season in the ninth tier of football with Armthorpe Welfare. In his only season with Armthorpe he briefly became a prolific goal scorer, notching up an impressive little partnership with ex Premier League striker Clint Marcelle who had been released by Town in October 2004. However at the end of the season and amidst more injury woes, Soames left Armthorpe and retired from competitive football at the age of 21.

Since quitting the game Soames returned home to Grimsby and became a fitness instructor and coach for a company called SportsLincs who operated football coaching classes within the region and in 2012 he was working for North East Lincolnshire Council where he briefly returned to football by helping NE Lincs Council win the Council National 5-aside Football championship. Digger in 2013, still works for the council as a fitness coach for people with health needs over the age of 45. Looking back at his three years with Town I honestly think given more of a chance and if it wasn't for his injuries he would have made a greater impact for us.

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