Daggers keeper teaching a valuable lesson
Chris Lewington talks exclusively on swapping the football pitch for the classroom
Lunch in Nandos and afternoons on the Playstation is the way most footballers would have us believe they spend their spare time – judging by some of their posts on Twitter.
But, for Daggers goalkeeper Chris Lewington such luxury could not be further from the truth.
The 23-year-old swaps the training pitch for the classroom twice a week after training, teaching at North West Kent College in Dartford.
And, despite cementing his place as Daggers’ number one this season, the former Hampton & Richmond stopper plans to continue with his second job for as long as possible.
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“It’s something to keep me occupied. You get a lot of spare time as a footballer, so it’s good to have a little bit on the side to do,” said Lewington.
“I go in there twice a week for a few hours after training.
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“They’ve got a Dartford Academy team and I help do the theory side with them.
“They’re all between 16 and 18. No-one calls me Mr Lewington, it’s not as formal as that, it’s all first name basis. “They give me a bit of banter and a bit of stick if we lose or they see something in the paper, but it’s good.
“It’s something to fall back on after football, or if anything happens it’s a little bit of security for me.”
Team-mate and fellow goalkeeper Dave Hogan also combines playing with additional work.
And while an afternoon of hard graft may seem an alien concept to those playing in the Premiership, Lewington insists English football’s top-earners may be more down to earth than they appear.
“They’re all human,” he said.
“You get a few that have come through the ranks and haven’t ever been to work, but I’m sure they know some of us have to do it.
“Personally, I just like to keep occupied. I don’t like to sit around, doing nothing.
“Dave Hogan does a bit of landscape gardening and one or two of the other lads might have another bit on the side to keep them occupied.”
On the pitch, Lewington has been an ever-present in Daggers’ League Two campaign and has grown into one of the most important members of the squad.
After legendary stopper Tony Roberts retired in the summer, Lewington held off the challenge of on-loan Arsenal keeper James Shea to make the number one spot his own.
Impressed by his early-season performances, the Daggers hierarchy rewarded Lewington with a new three-year contract in November.
But Lewington, who has kept six clean sheets this term, feels there is still some room for improvement.
“I’ve been happy so far, but obviously it’s still my first season and I’m still learning,” he said.
“Hopefully I’ll just get better and better as the season goes on.
“My main aim this season is to play every game and hopefully I can achieve that.
“Every player wants to feel valued at a club. I think I’ve done well so far and hopefully over the next three seasons we can get better and better.”