“Mick Waitt is living proof that you can fulfil your football dreams… No matter how impossible they may seem.” Says Paul Mace a Notts County fan and former Director at Meadow Lane who now runs a podcast dedicated to his favourite club.
In an uplifting interview for Magpie Circle which will be aired live this Thursday night at 6pm (and available thereafter), Waitt reveals how he went from playing Notts Alliance football and working nights at Plessey at the age of 24, to becoming centre forward for Notts County in the Football League Second and Third Divisions.
Waitt also describes his time as a national head coach and will speak on how he led New Zealand to compete in the Confederations Cup in Paris and that big day in taking on the famous French National team Managed by Jacques Santorini at the Stade de France.
Mace said “It’s a heart-warming tale. How he took a pay cut from Plessey to join Notts. Scoring a hat-trick against Gillingham although he hasn’t got the video proof because the TV cameraman had already gone home before he netted his 89th minute third goal.”
“And how he was offered a contract extension by Jimmy Sirrel only for Jack Dunnett to sell the club and be offloaded by John Barnwell two weeks later.”
Mick Waitt, now in his 61st year was Northumberland born but grew up in the Nottinghamshire village of Calverton where he attended the local schools. He played for Calverton Rangers, Keyworth United and Arnold Kingswell before joining Notts County in 1984 where he would go on to score 32 goals in 88 games partnering up a formidable strike duo with Ian ‘Charlie’ McParland.
After Notts, Waitt left for Lincoln City then of the Vauxhall Conference who he signed for in 1987 scoring eight goals in 15 appearances helping them to promotion after one season in non-league but after breaking his leg at the Imps he joined Ilkeston Town in 1990 before a short spell in Hong Kong and a temporary move to New Zealand scoring eight goals in 14 matches for Napier City Rovers.
After spells locally at Spalding, Nuneaton and Grantham, Waitt played for Gedling Town and Ilkeston again before returning back and finally emigrating to New Zealand where he re-joined Napier in 1992 as assistant coach and initially a player.
After winning a number of trophies with the club, Waitt was named New Zealand Assistant Coach of the Year three times and was appointed Assistant Coach of the National Team before finally taking on the job as his adopted countries Head Coach in 2002 where he led New Zealand to an OFC Nations Final win against Australia.
What followed was New Zealand facing the likes of Japan, Colombia and France in the FIFA Confederations Cup before leaving the job in 2004 after his 2 year contract expired.
An ‘Old Skool’ striker described as ‘the perfect target man’ standing 6ft5in tall, in his playing days Waitt was great in the air and knew how to finish. As a Manager and Assistant he always knew how to get the best out of his team.
After football Mick joined the New Zealand Police force where he became a test analyst but it is within the game he loved, where he provided so much joy for those who watched him and his teams play.
A memorable career which went from Northumberland to New Zealand via Calverton & County. Mick Waitt is a man who managed a national football team to winning near 50% of their international games too.
From playing football in Nottinghamshire across the levels upwards of the Notts Alliance to Managing a side that took on Thierry Henry and Robert Pires at the pinnacle of the game. A fabulous story on a fabulous mans journey, you can listen to in full from Thursday evening with Paul Mace on the Magpie Circle which can be found through the Apple Podcast here.
For Notts County fans and local football followers this interview is sure to be an enjoyable listen on a career that saw Mick Waitt fulfil the dream of many by rising all the way to the top from the Nottinghamshire grass roots. Well worth a listen from 6pm this Thursday evening.
*Main image @MagpieCirclePod Mick Waitt arm up in the air celebrates a Notts goal.