Spell at Worksop Town helped launch league career of Harrogate Town star Jack Muldoon
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Muldoon fell into non-league football at an early age following spells at the academies of Scunthorpe United and Doncaster Rovers, joining Brigg Town before going on to represent Sheffield FC, Glapwell, Alfreton Town, and Stocksbridge Park Steels, where he enjoyed a prolific period after replacing Halifax Town-bound Jamie Vardy.
He then joined North Ferriby United before signing for the Tigers under Mark Shaw at the beginning of the 2013/14 campaign.
“It came at a good time for me because I had just left North Ferriby after their promotion,” said Muldoon. “I was close with Mark Shaw, and we had a good connection.
“He told me that he had a solid budget and that he would give me what I was on, as well as playing me week in, week out and that I’ll be his star man. I thought ‘brilliant, I am signing’ because I didn’t want to go and sit on the bench for an extra £60 at Alfreton or wherever.
“When I arrived, he told me all the types of players that were there like Tom Denton, Leon Mettam, Shane Clarke, Conor Higginson, Chris Salt, Loz Gaughan, and Phil Roe and I knew that side would be good enough to be challenging.
“I knew the pitch was always good and I knew that if you played good football on it then you would stand a chance.
“As I signed, we started to build momentum and we beat Mansfield and they had a full squad out and I knew we had clicked early, and people were unselfish apart from our goalscorer Metts, so I wasn’t bothered about that.
“It was an exciting time, and Showie (Mark Shaw) was just one of the lads and it was the first time I had been around a side like that.
“For instance, me and Mettam were messing about and wrestling, and Dents got involved and we were two-verses-one on Metts and Showie comes running over and completely wipes out Dents and it was the funniest thing that I have seen in training.
“I thought ‘what manager would wipe out his 6ft 7” striker’, but I just had a good feeling about the place, and it was a good environment with a good type of understanding and friendship amongst the group and it boded well for what the season was to come.”
Muldoon was an integral part of the side and the Tigers finished in the Northern Premier Division play-offs but were beaten by AFC Fylde in the semi-finals.
It could be argued that a Worksop side that scored 120 league goals – 21 of which were Muldoon’s contributions from the right wing – should have finished much higher due to the squad they possessed.
However, they fell short due to a backline that conceded 87 times; something Muldoon believes was a factor.
He added: “We weren’t shy of goals but when you’re a free-flowing team that scored goals then you probably leave yourself open for the counterattack and I think that is what happened with us.
“Defensively, we probably weren’t as tight as we would have liked to have been, but I preferred the goals and exciting football and at that level, it isn’t the be all and end all whereas at a higher level you have to be more clued on with set-pieces because more is a stake.”
During that campaign, he caught the eye of Rochdale AFC manager Keith Hill, who invited the forward to train sporadically with the Dales before handing him a contract at the end of the campaign.
He continued: “They came in around January time and asked me to come in and get involved with the lads once or twice a week training with them and if there were any reserve games then they got me involved and at the time, Showie supported me massively in that.
“Come to the end of that season and Keith gave me a call and I said, ‘Hi Keith, you alright…’ and so on, and he said, ‘it’s no longer Keith, it’s gaffer now.
“I need a meeting with you next week’ and when I went, I got the essence he was going to sign me, and it was a no-brainer.
“It was the best platform I could have had to get me where I am now, because of the things I learnt playing with better players in the training ground day in, day out with the defensive and forward coaches and Keith Hill and those types of people that over the 10 months I was there, brought the player inside out of me.”
Following his season with the Dale, Muldoon dropped back into non-league football with Lincoln City, where he would help the Imps reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, the semi-finals of the FA Trophy, and achieve promotion to the football league in the 2016/17 season.
However, Muldoon opted to stay in Step Five of the English game, spending a year at Fylde before joining his current employer, Harrogate Town, becoming a mainstay in their rise into the EFL.
After falling short in his first season, the Sulphurites gained promotion the following campaign via the play-offs before Muldoon helped them establish themselves as a League Two club, scoring 27 goals across the past two years.