David Stockdale interview: York City keeper on redemption at Sheffield Wednesday, his new dual role, Victor Orta and never settling for a quiet life

DRIVEN. Big-hearted. Straight-talking. Fun. These words are all used to describe David Stockdale on his personal website.There is one glaring omission in truth. Non-stop.

Shortly after his departure from Sheffield Wednesday was officially confirmed earlier this month, it was announced that the 37-year-old had rejoined York City, the club where his professional career began.

He won't be purely donning the goalkeeping gloves, either.

After training, team-mates might spot him donning a collar and tie in his other role with the Minstermen as head of recruitment, with Leeds-born Stockdale to advise manager Michael Morton.

NEW ROLE: David Stockdale, pictured playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Derby County in December, is now combining goalkeeping with player recruitment at York City Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty ImagesNEW ROLE: David Stockdale, pictured playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Derby County in December, is now combining goalkeeping with player recruitment at York City Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
NEW ROLE: David Stockdale, pictured playing for Sheffield Wednesday against Derby County in December, is now combining goalkeeping with player recruitment at York City Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
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It promises to be all-go. Given his character, it is right up his street.

Stockdale told The Yorkshire Post: "I am kind of an on-the-go bloke and can't really sit still.

"I think I will always be busy. I am excited by that (recruitment) side. The manager was showing me a picture of himself on holiday and then a picture of me trying to get back fit for pre-season!

"So there's two sides (of football) I've got to get ready for. I've taken a couple of courses through the FA on talent identification.

YOU BEAUTY: David Stockdale hoists Sheffield Wednesday captain and midfielder Barry Bannan aloft after their team's dramatic League One Play-off Final victory over Barnsley at Wembley. after the team's victory Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesYOU BEAUTY: David Stockdale hoists Sheffield Wednesday captain and midfielder Barry Bannan aloft after their team's dramatic League One Play-off Final victory over Barnsley at Wembley. after the team's victory Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
YOU BEAUTY: David Stockdale hoists Sheffield Wednesday captain and midfielder Barry Bannan aloft after their team's dramatic League One Play-off Final victory over Barnsley at Wembley. after the team's victory Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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"I wasn't particularly big regarding coaching and I just think I am better off on a different road. But I wanted to stay in football.

"They (York) came with a proposal and it was a good time for me after what happened last season.

"I tapped off a couple of targets and it was a good time to do it. If it had gone a different way, I might have wanted to chase that next promotion.

"But I can still do it here, while looking towards the future."

GOOD TIMES: David Stockdale, pictured in action for Wycombe Wanderers Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty ImagesGOOD TIMES: David Stockdale, pictured in action for Wycombe Wanderers Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
GOOD TIMES: David Stockdale, pictured in action for Wycombe Wanderers Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Used to saving and catching balls in his 'day job', Stockdale has always been used to juggling balls away from the pitch given his multifarious interests.

Checking out his website sheds further light upon this. Alongside being an ‘athlete’, it also lists him as a 'businessman' and 'philanthropist' among other things.

His interests include vintage cars and angling. He also has a property portfolio, having set up MDB13 Properties Ltd in 2017, which he runs with wife Katie.

The company has a portfolio of 30-40 properties/units with a value of between £4-5m, according to his website.

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He has also helped various charitable causes and community projects. At Brighton, he received a PFA Community Champion Award for his work with the families affected by the Shoreham Airshow tragedy, which claimed the lives of 11 people in 2015.

On a football level, he was also a board member of Midlands Football League Division One side Droitwich Spa.

A 'people person' with business acumen and blessed with an abundance of energy, Stockdale – who has served 18 different clubs in a professional football career which began two decades ago – has also built up a fair contacts base over the years.

His skill-set is pretty well served to working in football recruitment and he can count on several mentors to learn from.

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Stockdale continued: "I have had mentors I have spoken to and then there's the clubs I have been at, like Brighton.

"They are big on planning. Obviously things change, but if you have got solutions to problems that aren't even there, you are well set.

"Paul Barber at Brighton (chief executive and deputy chairman) was big on planning for every eventuality, so nothing surprises you. I am trying to do that in a smaller kind of way, but I saw what was happening with Brighton.

"I have met with Victor Orta and the Peterborough chairman (Darragh MacAnthony). I have known him for 10 or 12 years and we’d go for breakfast every off-season.

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"Everybody has opinions about everyone, but it's about taking the information and if the advice they give you works, then you keep going back to those people. It feels like I am name-dropping, but I am not!

"They are people who have helped me after I asked for their advice and they said the (new) role was perfect for me in keeping playing, but working on the other side. All their advice has been right so far.

"There have been managers who I played with who also give me advice. I go back to when I first started and Mark Robins, when I was on loan at Rotherham, was someone I had a great relationship with and I still ring him now.

"He tells me honestly what he thinks. I can hopefully use all these things to help York City.

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"I can pick the brains of some very knowledgeable people. Because York has a place in my heart as I started there, it means a bit more.

"It is not just about me, but the longevity of the club. If I say leave in two years, I want to see it progress from where I started."

On the football field, Stockdale is assigned with helping a proud club in York getting a smile back on its face in 2023-24 after some tough recent times.

It's a club which means a lot to him. The one he has just left in Wednesday also will.

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He has seen and achieved plenty in his long career, but last season was no ordinary one.

For Stockdale, it was cathartic and his Wembley celebrations after the Owls' recent League One play-off final win over Barnsley bore testament to that.

The Yorkshireman may not have been a playing participant during an astounding finish to the campaign for the Owls, but he was emotionally invested and a huge part of the dressing room.

There is personal context. He was part of a Wycombe side who lost out 2-0 in the third-tier play-off final against Sunderland at the end of the previous season, his final game as a Chairboys player.

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After the final whistle, Stockdale watched the Wearsiders lift the trophy and stored it in the memory vaults to serve as inspiration. May 29 was redemption.

Stockdale, who made 24 league appearances for the Owls last term, said: "That promotion run will be on Sky for a long time because we made history throughout the season and then managed to do it when the odds weren't in our favour.

"As a group of players, we had a goal, but you have your ups and downs and it is not that simple.

"The group we had were on the same page and it was also personal for me because I'd lost in the final the year before.

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"My son was crying and I made him stand and watch Sunderland and we stood and watched. He said: 'Dad, why do you watch when you have lost?' And I said: 'Because it makes you more hungry for the next time.'

"After the final whistle, I picked Baz (Barry Bannan) up and said: 'I told you we'd do it' and I had belief. I put him down and he said: 'Go and tell Billy (Stockdale's son) that you did it.'

"And that was it for me and he was crying again, but a different type. My son is old enough to realise what is going on. He's in year 11.

"I said after the Cheltenham game to the lads and was open and honest – that this might be my last chance.

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"It was quite emotional after and I said the same thing. Whether I was in the team or not, I felt it had sentiment.

"To have the family there at the final and to remember it all is a big thing for me. For it to go that way and how it ended was emotional.

"Because I was older, I was able to take it in and stood on the half-way line while they (team-mates) were celebrating and looked around and remembered.

"People thought it was the end, but it was more me taking a moment.

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"It was my fifth promotion and each one has a story or memory and special people."

Stockdale is now in the business of creating new memories at York and putting something back into a club where he came through the academy and made his debut as a 17-year-old.

He remembers good times and tough ones, such as bucket-collecting at Bootham Crescent during a cash-strapped period for the Minstermen.

"Lots of things have changed, but some have stayed the same," he continued.

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"Some things we can improve on and some things don't cost a lot of money.

"The fans have always been big for us and knowing I have got a relationship with them is something I am looking forward to."

As for any rest this summer? Forget it.

Stockdale added: "We will get away for a little bit, but the phone is on. I have always been like that.

"All the players know they can ring me for different things and advice. I am always like that with my business as well.

"I like to be on the go and it keeps me young."