Ethan Chislett joined Aldershot Town from Southern League Premier Division side Metropolitan Police. He originally played for The Shots’ academy until the age of 15, he joined Police’s youth system and he was a member of the side that made the FA Youth Cup 4th Round in 2016.
Breaking into Police’s first team, Chislett helped them reach the FA Cup 1st Round against League Two side Newport County and helped Police get a shock win over National League side Havant & Waterlooville.
Chislett discusses his time at Police, why Police are so different from other clubs, his time in the Aldershot Town academy, his return to Aldershot Town and some interesting hobbies too.
From the beginning, where did football start for you?
“I was born in South Africa. Football has kind of been in my family and my Dad also played football so I was brought into the football life by them. My Dad played professionally out there so he took it quite seriously.
“I fell in love with the game from there and then we moved over to England when I was about six or seven. I joined a local team when I was nine but before that, I would go to the park. My local team were Guildford Saints because my Dad was the manager there.
“From there, I went to Southampton’s academy and I was there for just over two years. I was released after two years because I was too small at the age of 14. I went back to my Dad’s team and there was a link to Met Police at the time so I went there to play youth team football.
“We did really well in all the youth cups, we got knocked out by Wolverhampton Wanderers one time. We had a strong team as we beat the likes of Burnley and Yeovil Town. I broke into the Met Police first team after that at the age of 17 and it was non-league football and I liked to play football on the floor.”
How was life at Met Police for you after Guildford Saints and Southampton?
“I wasn’t really enjoying my football anymore at youth level and an opportunity arose from futsal as I played that quite a lot. I got the chance to travel out to Spain and trial out there for a week in the international academies. I did really well and I played over there for two years with a team and I also trained with Gimnas La Pobla.
“I was meant to sign for the Spanish Third Division side but the manager got sacked at the end of the season and I didn’t have anywhere else to go in Spain. I could’ve gone for trials but I wanted to try and prove myself again in England.
“That’s when I joined Met Police’s first team under a new manager called Gavin Macpherson and he had a different philosophy. He wanted to bring through the youth because there is a very good youth system at Met Police.
“We did really well last year, we made the Play-Off Super Final but unfortunately we lost in extra time and off the back of that I signed for Aldershot Town.”
Met Police are obviously linked to the police services. How different are they to every other club?
“Historically, there has been a major link to the Met Police but in recent years they’ve kind of grown apart and come out of association with that link.
“The chairman is an ex-policeman and the old manager was a policeman but the youth team and first-team players don’t really have a link to the Police that much anymore.
“It is a well-structured club and Gavin has done a very good job there. I don’t think the link to the Police is strong anymore but the name is still there so the link is still existent in a way.”
You flourished at Met Police and you’re remembered for one goal in particular against Tonbridge Angels which was a 25-yard screamer. Does that goal get talked about now?
“Yeah on occasion. I still keep in touch with a few of the boys there and Gavin especially I still keep in touch with. It was a very special moment for me and not just for me but the club as well.
“The Play-Off Super Final, it was the only year that had ever happened. We won the play-off final against Poole but unfortunately, there was a Play-Off Super Final which meant that we had to beat Tonbridge Angels.
“Credit to them, they were more physical and I think that showed late on in the game. That goal, I’d seen that type of finish about a week or two before and I’d been practising that strike in training over and over again.
“Luckily, it came off on the big occasion and from my celebration on that day, you could see just how happy I was with the strike. It was such a shame that we ended up losing but I’ll remember that goal for a very long time.”
For those that don’t know a lot about Met Police. Where are they based? Is there anyone there that has a memorable past?
“They’re based in Esher. Their home ground is Imber Court Sports Club and they’re doing a lot of work to enhance what they’ve got.
“It is a fantastic club and the facilities are only getting better. It is mainly driven by Jon Nurse who had a very good career himself but the pitch is very nice and the management team are really good down there.”
When Aldershot Town gave you an offer, was it easy to accept or did you have to consider other clubs that were interested as well?
“To be honest, I can’t remember how many meetings I had with different managers. I went to all of them with my Dad and the only one that I didn’t meet myself was with Danny Searle.
“My Dad met him at a hotel I think and my Dad just said they talked about football and their philosophies about the game. My Dad passed on his thoughts about Danny onto me and he had high regard for Danny.
“I got the opportunity to speak to him and I immediately thought that this was the right move for me. The way he wants to play, how he motivates the team and how courageous he is with the style that he wants to employ. Those are all the reasons I wanted to join Aldershot Town.
“In the National League and non-league in general, it’s hard to find a manager who will not only trust a player despite their age but have the confidence to put them out there and show people what they’re made of.
“If you look at my age and my physique, I’m not a big target man or I try to think one step ahead. I was really pleased with what he was saying and he came across very well so I eventually made the final decision to join Aldershot.”
Running from midfield to create chances for yourself and the strikers is your strong point. Are there any areas that you think you should improve on for the near future?
“One of them is heading. I’ve scored two headers this season I think but I want to try and be more of an aerial threat, not only offensively but defensively as well.
“I want to work on my weaker foot. I believe this will make me more unpredictable when playing against a defender. Whether that’ll be finishing or taking players on, I want to be able to use both feet to improve myself as a player.
“I want to get more powerful. Not necessarily bigger but more powerful and a bit more explosive too. When I do find that yard, I can drive forward to create that chance. I know that not many people can catch me when I’m pushing forward with the ball.”
Are there any defenders in the National League that have been the hardest to get past for you?
“With the National League, it’s interesting because the defences you come up against are very similar. They’re all very big, robust, mean and nasty defenders. That does make it difficult for strikers and creative players like myself to get past them.
“One game that stands out for me, in particular, is the game against Yeovil at home. They beat us 3-1 at the EBB Stadium and it was very difficult for me in that game to find space because whenever I turned, there would be someone right behind me ready to tackle me.
“There was always one or two players within an inch of me every time that I had the ball. Most players are physically bigger than me and every time I had the ball, I was getting smashed so I would say that team was the hardest to play against at home but I can’t seem to name anyone off the top of my head.”
Are there any hobbies or interests outside of Aldershot Town that fans wouldn’t know you get up to?
“I like to go to the gym and I also like to swim. I like to read books not necessarily to do with football but with other things as well.
“Right now, I like to read and understand the stock market. I find it interesting and potentially I would like to invest in the future.
“I love table tennis and I like most sports, to be honest. Eventually, I would like to get into golf which is my plan when this current situation is over. I am focusing on my fitness and football at the moment but one day that is a sport that I would like to take an interest in.”