At the start of the season Mickey Haswell seemed to have it all going for him. Playing for a team just promoted to the Blue Square South, having been on trial with League One club Brighton in pre-season after joining them on a tour of Ireland, and playing well enough to spark rumours he may be offered a contract before losing out to veteran full-back Kerry Mayo (famous as the only player ever to play league football who possessed a name containing two Irish counties, as well as having a wife who shared the same name as him… which might have swung it in Mickey Adams mind…).
Haswell then started the first five games of the last campaign, including laying on the first goal of the season for Jon Main, with a wonderful cross after a rampaging run down the left. Yet he never managed to hold down a first team place, finding his left-back role taken by a constantly improving young Chris Hussey. He found himself sitting on the bench all too often, finding match time as a defensive utility substitute, replacing either Hussey, one of the centre halves, or even stepping into midfield occasionally. He also found himself selected for a couple of key fixtures, the Wycombe FA Cup tie and the big title decider at Hampton, when Terry Brown required a bit more muscle across the back line.
Perhaps it was Browns change in philosophy this season that really cost Haswell his place, as attacking fullbacks were a must and Hussy’s delivery into the box perhaps shaded Mickey’s somewhat. Either way, having to kick his heels on the bench must have been extremely frustrating considering his earlier close shave with the professional game.
Mickey began his career at WFC’s youth academy, spending two spells there before the move to Milton Keynes before moving to Southend. He found himself a member of the Chelmsford squad (pre-money) who managed to shock the Dons in their first season in the Ryman Premier, finishing as their Player of the Year. After Dave Anderson signed him for Wimbledon in the summer of 2006, he commented that joining the club was ‘like… picking up where I’d left off five years earlier’.
Haswell was the sort of player supporters found it hard not to like. He seemed to have the ability of making it all look so easy at times, always a favourite when entering 50/50 challenges, the standout Ryman Premier left back during his first two years at the club. Everything about his game suggested he would be a good defensive utility player, but his brief excursions across or up the park were unconvincing, despite his enthusiasm, which probably put paid to any hopes of a new contract for next year. My last encounter with Mickey (which was also my first by the way…) was on the pitch at Hampton, as he returned from the tunnel to do the stewards job for them and shepherd delerious Dons fans like myself away from the tunnel area, meaning if all else fails for him a career as a crowd control expert is there for the taking.
I’m sure all Dons fans will extend their thanks to Mickey for the effort, professionalism, and genuine desire he showed every time he wore a Dons shirt in anger, whatever the weather, and for all those times he was carrying an injury but played on, and never let it show. Wherever he ends up this summer, and The Blue Square South seems his best bet, one club can consider themselves very lucky to have acquired his services.