Mason’s striving to be the best

SUMMER signing Mason Fawns, already a crowd favourite, believes Mossley fans have yet to see the best of him.

The 22-year-old former Oldham Athletic striker, who is the Lilywhites’ six goal joint leading goalscorer, believes there is much more to come.

Fawns, his own biggest critic, strives for perfection as his long-term goal is to get back into professional football.

He said: “In every match, I want to do my best. It is not just a game and to have a laugh.

“If we lose, I am in a mood because it hurts me. I want to win and, if the team does well, that helps me.

“I am driven to be the best I can be and to have a long career. If I knuckle down and work hard who knows what might happen.”

Mason Fawns

Of the start to his career with the Lilywhites’, Fawns said: “It was a frustrating start as I had a couple of spells out with concussion followed by a sprained ankle.

“It was stop-start which is why I believe the best is yet to come and I know I can give more, though I am happy to have scored six goals.”

Fawns’ versatility is such that he can play in a variety of attacking roles. He has played out wide and as a number 10 for the Lilywhites.

He said: “I have been playing out wide because there has been such competition for the number 10 spot.“The manager sees me as a number 10, and I believe I am more effective and influence the game more in the middle.”

Fawns explained how his summer move came about after manager David Fish had been impressed with his performances for Ramsbottom United where he had been on non-contract forms.

He said: “I had a good chat with David, and it was not just where the club wanted to go this season but what he was hoping to build in the next few years.

“To be offered a contract is a big thing for a non-league player and offers security.“The fact he offered me a two-year deal also showed the belief he had in me, and it would have been hard to turn down.”

Mossley made a fabulous start to the season and found themselves top of the Northern Premier League’s west division in early November.

However, a run of five straight defeats in league and cup saw them slip to sixth place and just outside the play-off spots.

Fawns said: “I think we became a bit too comfortable and stopped doing the basics which got us to the top.

“We need to put in extra yards and to press our opponents while we have been giving away cheap goals which we weren’t doing at the start of the season.

“Our performances have not been bad as we saw against Ashton United in the Manchester Premier Cup when we were unlucky to lose 1-0.


“The manager has stuck with the side in the bad run and not made sweeping chances. We must repay him.

“Anyone can beat anyone in our division, and I see no reason why we cannot challenge for a play-off spot.”

Fawns has also been impressed with the quality of the squad and the camaraderie among the tight-knit group.

He explained: “We have a great team and good quality in the squad which is also quite young. I think there are only a couple of players over the age of 25 so it is a team which should only get better.

“There is a bond among the group, and we all get along with one another. There is no hostility or arguments.”

There was also a special word about the fans with crowds averaging around 450.

Fawns said: “The fans are class, even when we have been on the losing run when they have still supported us.

“They are in the bar after the game and always want a chat whether we have won or lost.

“The atmosphere at our games is great. Until you have been to one of our games, you don’t realise just how good it is.”

It has been quite a journey to Mossley for Droylsden-raised Fawns, who still lives in the town.

He began playing with Droylsden Juniors before signing for Manchester City at the age of six, though he has been a lifelong Manchester United fan.

But it was while at Blackburn Rovers, where he was between the ages of nine and 18, where his stock rose.

Fawns, whose football hero was Wayne Rooney, came through their academy and signed a scholarship to join them full-time aged 16.

Looking back on his time with Rovers, he added he had experiences he will never forget visiting Russia and Spain and playing against Real Madrid.

And in youth football, he played against England internationals Marcus Rashford, Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho and Tammy Abraham as well as Juventus’ Matthijs de Ligt, the Dutch star.

It was while with Rovers that Fawns went on a youth loan to Oldham Athletic where he was such a hit that the deal became permanent.

And after a successful spell in the youth team, Latics offered him a professional contract which is what he had been striving to achieve.

Manager John Sheridan handed Fawns his first-team debut as a substitute against Walsall, a match he will never forget. It was one of six senior appearances.

He said: “I didn’t feel out of my comfort zone playing first-team football and felt comfortable in the side.

“Looking back, the club had a lot of financial problems, and I was there at the wrong time for a young player.

“I loved working with John Sheridan who would always speak to me. I learned a lot from him, and it was good to have a manager who trusted me as a young player.”

Fawns went out of a couple of loans to Ashton United and AFC Fylde before being released aged 19. He describes himself as lucky to have been a professional footballer.

Since then, he has had spells at Curzon Ashton, Altrincham and Ramsbottom United when he also did some coaching to supplement his income from football.

But for the last seven months, Fawns has had his first job outside football as he works in fibre optics for a telecommunications firm which he enjoys.

He admitted it can be challenging when he was working for a week recently in Birmingham. He had been due to stay down but came back twice as he was desperate not to miss training such is his commitment to the sport he loves.

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