WORK DAYS are a lot more pleasurable for Alfie May than in a previous job.
After working in civvy street as a builder with the family business, the Doncaster Rovers striker is now constructing a cherished new career as a professional footballer and the foundations look safe and secure, if his time with the club so far is anything to go by.
With manager Darren Ferguson having revealed that he will start this evening’s cup encounter with Hull City following two impressive goalscoring cameo performances from the bench in the club’s last two league games, May is likely to have slept pretty soundly last night.
In the not-too-distant past, a full night’s sleep – more especially during the working week – would have represented something of a luxury for the former Hythe Town forward.
Early starts, while millions of others slept and it was often pitch black outside, and exceedingly long days were pretty frequent. But not any more.
Reflecting on those days combining work and footballing commitments, May, who left the building industry last December after securing his dream move to Rovers, said: “You get up for half past five and you are on your way. You are in the cafe at half past six with a big builder’s breakfast and your day starts then. You don’t finish until four or five.
“As it was a family company, you are obviously working as hard as you possibly can. On Tuesdays, we would finish half an hour early and then travel straight to the game and play a match.
“Sometimes, if it was an away game, you are not home until half past twelve and you are up again at half past five in the morning.
“Now, I wake him thinking I am going to play football – which is something I love – for a couple of hours in training. And seeing the boys is good fun.”
In contrast to the plethora of recent stories which have showcased diva-like behaviour from some of the game’s most famous names, the story of May represents something which is truly good for the soul.
After being rejected by Millwall as a teenager, the 24-year-old is determined to make the most of his shot as a professional after coming up the hard way following stints in the non-league with the likes of Hythe, Billericay and Erith and Belvedere.
May, whose three-goal haul this term also includes a strike in the 3-2 win over more Yorkshire opponents in Bradford City in the first round of the Carabao Cup, said: “It is obviously going really well at the minute.
“Playing against an ex-Premier League team with the players they have got such as Seb Larsson and Michael Dawson, who have played at the highest level possible, will be a great test for us.
“But we have quality players in and around our squad and I am comfortable that we can go and win this.
“I am a massive winner and everybody loves winning and I just try and work as hard as I can. We do a shooting drill after (training) and if you are last, you make the teas or you have to dance. You don’t want to be dancing in front of the boys, it is quite embarrassing!”
Sacrifices have been made both by May and his supportive family, including his late grandfather and the sight of the forward lining up this evening against a side who were playing in the Premier League last season will represent another proud moment in his burgeoning career.
May, whose brother Sam is the assistant manager of Hythe and also runs the family business, added: “All my friends and family want me to succeed (at Doncaster) and want the best for me because they know how much I wanted it.
“You want to be in the starting 11 because it is work and your job now. You want to be the best that you possibly can be.”
On the influence of his late grandfather, he continued: “From a young age, he took me to the academy at Millwall. He took me everywhere; every training session, every game. He would be there, non-stop. He would bring boots around for me and would do anything.
“I have always said it – and I have even repeated it to my mum – that I wish he was (still) here. Just to watch one game.”
May’s performances and attitude have certainly resonated with his new ‘gaffer’ in Ferguson, who believes that his story is an inspirational one to follow with his commitment soon endearing him to the club’s supporters too.
Ferguson commented: “He was doing proper work.. I love his attitude and he has been given an opportunity and has taken it.
“He is a great example of what can be done with sheer effort and determination and that never-say die work ethic. That is why the fans love him so much and have taken to him because he has got all those things.
“You don’t get success if you have not got those things.”
Last six games: Doncaster LLDWWD; Hull LLDWLL.
Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire).
Last time: Doncaster 3 Hull 2, August 28, 2012; Capital One Cup.