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The story of Gavin Hoyte and his solitary Premier League game for Arsenal
« Reply #60 on: June 06, 2020, 09:25:56 AM »
The story of Gavin Hoyte and his solitary Premier League game for Arsenal
By Will Unwin (planetfootball.com)

Gavin Hoyte only ever made one Premier League appearance for Arsenal, but he still thinks of that solitary game as one of the highlights of his career.

“I remember just going out there, seeing Robinho and thinking about what he’d done to other defenders, hoping he wouldn’t do that to me. But I was full of confidence and I was ready.”

As a young right-back set to make his league debut, there are probably opponents you would choose before Manchester City and their new super signing from Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium.

But that’s exactly what Gavin Hoyte got in 2008 when he was drafted into Arsenal’s backline the day after William Gallas had been stripped of the club captaincy for criticising team-mates amid a poor run of only one win in four games.

“When the chance came there were a few injuries and that was it, I was in,” Hoyte says.

“I remember the training session before the game, one of the coaches said to Armand Traore, Jack Wilshere and me, ‘One of you is going to make your debut, who do you think it is?’

“Everyone thought it was either Jack or Traore, no one thought it was me, and then he said, ‘It’s going to be you, Gavin.’

“I don’t think anyone thought too much of it, but then we were doing shape work and I was in there, and I just had to be ready.”

It was the culmination of almost a decade’s work for Hoyte, who had joined the club aged nine.

Like most inside a club’s academy, at the time Hoyte believed stepping up to the first team was a natural step, particularly with his brother Justin having made 68 appearances for the Gunners before being sold to Middlesbrough that summer.

“When you’re there you always think you’re going to make it – I was pretty confident,” he says. “I had my older brother there as well, so that helped a lot, seeing how he progressed.

“That was a big thing for me, seeing him play every week, watching him thinking, ‘I want to try and get to where he is.'”

Road to the first team
Hoyte Jr. had captained Arsenal’s Under-18 side during his path towards the first team and had sat on the bench as an unused substitute for several games before making his debut in a 6-0 League Cup win over Sheffield United a couple of months before that Manchester City game.

He started in the next two rounds of the League Cup too, against Wigan and Burnley, and his Arsenal career only seemed to be heading in one direction.

“Just to play at the Emirates was massive, coming out to a big crowd,” he says of that game against Sheffield United.

“There were a lot of young boys in the team so that helped me with confidence and eased it. I think I had three games in the cup, so it helped a lot.

“But there were a lot of players in front of me, so I didn’t think about playing (in the Premier League). It was always in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t thinking I was going to play immediately.”

Yet just 11 days after the second of those League Cup appearances, Hoyte was handed his Premier League debut. And though he was withdrawn after an hour of a 3-0 defeat, he had no idea that would prove to be both the start and end of his top-flight career.

“Seeing my brother do it, that helped a lot,” he says. “He didn’t say too much, as he didn’t want to make me too nervous. He just said to enjoy it and everyone would help me out.

“It was one of them things, I was still young so I didn’t take too much in. I took it a little bit for granted, but looking back it at it now, I shouldn’t have.”

Wenger and his staff didn’t give much feedback to Hoyte after the game, but he was awarded a new long-term contract soon after before being sent out on loan to Championship side Watford in the winter transfer window.

It certainly didn’t seem at that time as though his Gunners career was already over, but having made his fourth appearance for the club in the League Cup quarter-final defeat to Burnley at the start of December, he would never play for them again.

“They didn’t say anything (after the Man City defeat) as we were losing a few games at that point. It was when Gallas was stripped of the captaincy, so there was a lot of stuff going on off the pitch, so I think that overtook the game.

“Most of the coaches just told me ‘well done’ and to keep doing what I was doing, and that’s when I went on loan to Watford straight after.”

Life away from Arsenal
“I’d always lived at home with my mum and dad, so I got a chance to live alone. Living on your own, cooking the right things and just doing everything for yourself, it was a good life experience.

“At Arsenal you get everything: food; the gym is top quality; the training gear; even the pitch as well. The Championship was a lot different to how it is now the quality is a lot higher now than it was back then.

“Also, in the reserves I was playing every week, but when I went to Watford I played, then I was out of the team, so you get that experience of coming out of the team and how you deal with it.”

Hoyte would spend most of the following season on loan at League One Brighton before dropping down another division for further loan spells with Lincoln City and AFC Wimbledon over the next two years.

By then he realised there was little hope of him ever returning to the Arsenal first team, and he eventually left for Dagenham and Redbridge, three and a half years after making his solitary Premier League appearance for the Gunners.

“From when I came back on loan (from Watford), I didn’t train with the first team as much, so from then I realised I’d had my chance. Before that I was training with them nearly every day.

“When I went to Lincoln that was an eye-opener for me as I’d always played higher, I’d never really looked at the lower leagues, so I knew I needed to buck up my ideas here, otherwise I would end up with nothing. So there was where I realised I had to do my best.

“I think it was Dagenham and Barnet who wanted me so I spoke to my agent, he told me about John Still and how he works, so I thought it was for me. And the goalkeeper coach at Arsenal, Tony Roberts, he was at Dagenham before that and told me I’d enjoy it, so that helped make my decision.”

International career
Hoyte, who now plays in the National League South with Maidstone United, enjoyed a largely successful career in the lower leagues with Dagenham, Gillingham and Barnet, and also has three caps for Trinidad and Tobago to his name.

And just as his Premier League debut came against star-studded opposition, his international bow came against Lionel Messi’s Argentina as part of their preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

“My brother was playing for them at the time and the manager asked if I’d be interested in going, so I said yes.

“He gave me a call, I spoke to him, he said they had some good games coming up and that he was going to pick me for the friendlies against Argentina and Iran, so I didn’t need much enticing after that.

“I came on for 20 minutes, and Maxi Rodriguez and Marcos Rojo were on my side. Messi was on the pitch at the time too, and even though it was only 20 minutes, to watch people like that was incredible. It was a great experience.”

Still, even with his international experience, that hour against Manchester City still stands out for Hoyte. He may never have played again in the Premier League, but it was the result of years of work and sacrifice, and an achievement few others manage.

“It’s one of the best memories, I don’t think many people can say they’ve done that, even if it is for one game. You can never take that away.

“Starting from aged nine, when everyone’s aim is to play in the Premier League or just play in the first team, I did that, so it’s definitely up there.”
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Re: Gavin Hoyte Thread
« Reply #61 on: June 12, 2020, 01:41:34 PM »
Gavin Hoyte explains his career, lockdown and life after football…
By Nathan Jacobs (outsidetheninetytwo.wordpress.com)

Once captain of the Arsenal U18 squad, current Maidstone United full-back Gavin Hoyte discussed his career so far, lockdown routines, best advice and plans for life after football.

The former Gunners youth team product joined ‘The Stones’ after a disappointing second spell with Dagenham & Redbridge, a time in which the defender admitted considering his future in the game.

But his current spell in Kent has revived his love of football and Hoyte says he can’t wait to get back out there.

“I just miss football, really. That’s all I’ve done my whole life. To not be playing for this length of time is hard.

“From not even wanting to train last summer to be back loving football shows how much this move has done for me.

“The Maidstone fans are great, some of the best in Non-League, we’ve got a great group of lads and I even scored two goals this season so it’s been a special one for me!”

Hoyte’s journey to Maidstone has been filled with numerous ups and downs; good spells at Gillingham and Eastleigh plagued by less satisfying spells at Wimbledon or on the sidelines.

But one constant in his career to date has been the wealth of good managers he’s played under.

“My first three managers were Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers (Watford) and Gus Poyet (Brighton) so that’s a lot of top coaches early in my career.

“Even in the lower league with Dagenham, Barnet and Gillingham I’ve always had successful winning managers in charge like John Still, Martin Allen and Peter Jackson.

“I may not have seen eye-to-eye with all of them but they each taught me a heck of a lot.”

But for a lot of these lower league clubs, life will start to look very different as the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic hits home.

Votes on the future of the National Leagues Steps 2-3 will be cast in the coming days following the decision to curtail all football in March due to the viral outbreak.

And for many players like Hoyte, the whole situation is rather unclear.

“I’ve enjoyed it this season but I’m out of contract and I’m just waiting to hear what’s going to happen.

“No-one really knows when Non-League is going to return or how it’s going to be resolved so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

For Maidstone, a cancelation of the playoffs would end their hopes of promotion, and sitting just five points outside the current playoff places with two games in hand, that would be a bitter blow.

As for the players themselves, life during lockdown has thrown up some difficult challenges.

“It’s not easy being at home and having to motivate yourself. I have been going out for runs and taking the kids out for bike rides as much as possible but it’s tough.

“My friends and I have completed this 50km a month challenge but now the next one has been set at 100!

“As for other hobbies, I’ve never been good at kick ups so I didn’t even try the toilet paper challenge but I’ve just started the Sunderland Till’ I Die documentary which is pretty good!”

The uncertainty surrounding how this season might conclude and how the next one might begin is a looming challenge for the key footballing bodies.

But for footballers like Hoyte, while the precariousness of the situation unfolds, he’s implementing a valuable lesson he’s learned throughout his career.

“Be ready. The most important time of your career is when you’re out of the team, for whatever reason.

“It’s about working hard, focussing and not sulking because you never know when that opportunity to be in the team is going to come and if you’re not ready, that could be it.

“If you are ready, you never know where that could take you. You could play every game thereafter and become player of the season!”

Hoyte is still preparing for a number of years in football, assuming a return to normality can be restored.

But he’s very well aware of the difficulty in transitioning from a career in football to life after and has also been working in a school the last couple of years as a learning support assistant.

“To be honest, after football I really couldn’t tell you what I was going to do but my mum suggested I’d be good at this.

“I thoroughly enjoy working with the special needs students because when I go in, the delight on their faces is great. It’s a tremendously fulfilling role.

“But I’ve also considered starting my own soccer school. My little boy is 8 and I’ve been helping out one of the dads who is a manager and I really enjoy that as well.

“Either way, I like to think I’m now well prepared for a path after football.”
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Re: Gavin Hoyte Thread
« Reply #62 on: December 22, 2020, 07:21:16 PM »
Maidstone United manager Hakan Hayrettin says they are lucky to have former Arsenal defender Gavin Hoyte
By Craig Tucker (kentonline.co.uk)

Hakan Hayrettin says Maidstone are lucky to have Gavin Hoyte at the club.

The popular right-back scored his first goal of the season in the Stones’ 2-0 FA Trophy win against Poole on Saturday.

He remains one of the first names on the teamsheet at the Gallagher and Hayrettin was delighted to see him score.

It was a cracking finish, too, as the 30-year-old got himself in the box and fired home Justin Amaluzor’s lay-off.

“Hoytey’s consistently Steady Eddie isn’t he, you know what you’re going to get out of him,” said manager Hayrettin.

“I keep pushing him, he’s a great lad, a great leader, he’s played in the Football League, he played in the Premier League for Arsenal.

"Are we lucky to have him? Yes, we are.

“He’s a great personality and a great character. He’ll always be one of the players I turn to when I need him.”

Hoyte’s goal, and a second from Ibrahim Olutade, set up a third-round home tie against Frome.

That game is due to be played this week, with the winners at home to United’s National League rivals Dorking in the last 32.

Hayrettin, an FA Trophy winner as a player with Wycombe, retains great affection for the competition but progress comes at a price as the matches mount up at a busy time of year.

“I don’t know if it’s a good distraction to be honest right now with the fixture pile-up we’ve got,” said Hayrettin.

“It’s not looking as good as it should do but talking to my chief exec he’s telling me other teams are in a similar situation.”
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Re: Gavin Hoyte Thread
« Reply #63 on: December 31, 2021, 02:36:26 PM »
WATCH: Gavin Hoyte scores his first goal of the season during Maidstone United's 4-1 win over Welling United.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/zHBcr_zMDYE?start=485" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/zHBcr_zMDYE?start=485</a>
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Re: Gavin Hoyte Thread
« Reply #64 on: February 05, 2022, 04:44:16 PM »
Maidstone United defender Gavin Hoyte on captaining the side in George Elokobi's absence
By Craig Tucker (Kent Online)

Gavin Hoyte is loving his extended spell as Maidstone skipper, knowing injured club captain George Elokobi is always on hand for advice.

Hoyte has had the armband throughout the Stones’ 11-match unbeaten run in National South, with Elokobi sidelined since the end of October.

The right-back, named vice-captain after signing from Dagenham three years ago, hadn’t always fared too well when deputising in the past.

But he appears to have cracked it this time, helped by words of encouragement from Elokobi, who celebrated his 36th birthday this week.

“It’s a funny one because the first year I came here, George got injured and I was captain and it didn’t go too well the first few times,” said Hoyte, 31.

“But this year has been a big change, everyone’s doing well and I’m loving every minute of it.

“Hak’s (manager Hakan Hayrettin) always on at me about talking more and being more of a leader on the pitch and that’s what I try and do.

“I’m always speaking to George. I’m fortunate enough to have someone like him.

“I drove in with him for the first two years so I’m learning off him every day.

“He’s a brilliant guy to have around, I don’t think I could have a better person to learn from.

“Even when we were having a bad run when I was captain, he was always giving me a call to see how things were because I felt like it was myself, what was I doing wrong?

“I had some words with him, what can I do better? He’s been a massive help throughout everything.

“The best advice he’s given me is keep being confident, keep the boys going, they go off of your vibe so just try and lead by example. That’s what I try and do.

“It’s brilliant to be captain of this team. I’m loving every minute. I’ve always wanted to be a captain.

“I was captain when I was younger at reserve level at Arsenal but I’ve always wanted to be captain and I’m fortunate enough to be captain of this great team and we’re doing so well, which makes it even better.

“You’ve got to enjoy it and that togetherness, I think that’s why we’re doing so well as well. We’re all fighting for each other.”

It’s a first Saturday home game of the year for Maidstone this weekend when they take on Bath City.

They’re looking to complete the double over the Romans, having won 3-0 at Twerton Park in October.

“I think this is the best run of my career, I don’t remember another team doing so well,” said Hoyte, whose side came from a goal down to beat Concord 5-1 last weekend.

“The first half at Concord wasn’t great but we got round each other at half-time, helped each other, had a few words and got the result we deserved in the second half.

“We need to keep everyone level-headed and make sure that first half doesn’t happen again.

“That same goal as when I first joined is still there, to win something.

“We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing and you never know where it takes you.”
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Re: Gavin Hoyte Thread
« Reply #65 on: March 24, 2023, 08:27:33 AM »
Maidstone United club captain Gavin Hoyte closing in on return from injury
By Craig Tucker (Kent Online)

Club captain Gavin Hoyte is on course to return for Maidstone before the end of the season.

Hoyte hasn’t featured since dislocating his shoulder in a Kent Senior Cup tie at Corinthian in November.

The right-back is closing in on a comeback and was even named on a seven-man bench for the Stones’ FA Trophy Quarter-Final defeat against Barnet a fortnight ago.

Maidstone are treading carefully with the 32-year-old, who is ahead of schedule in his recovery, but he’ll play some part in the final weeks of the National League season.

“Gav is progressing extremely well but we’ve got to ensure we’re ticking all the right boxes,” said caretaker manager George Elokobi, whose side host third-placed Woking at the Gallagher Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

“He’s training and he’s doing well. He’s ever so close to being back on the pitch but we have to be patient, we have to ensure he’s right and ready to go when called upon.

“He’s ahead of schedule but that’s why we have to be a little bit careful as well and not be hasty with our decision to bring him on the pitch. He’s patient. He understands.

“Everyone is going to have a part to play.

“You can see from his desire he’s hurting that he’s not been able to try and help the boys on the pitch.

“But behind the scenes he’s been tremendous in terms of helping and leading and trying to give the boys that support. You can only respect that.

“We all want the best for the future of this football club.

“Gav is a popular figure, he’s our club captain and it stays that way for now, definitely.”
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.


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