Block on his big chance at Hibernian - and the college days that set him on his way

Tommy Block in action for Bognor at Eastbourne Boro last season / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Tommy Block in action for Bognor at Eastbourne Boro last season / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Tommy Block has told how his big chance at Hibernian came about - and how he hopes he is making an impression at the Scottish Premiership outfit.

The Bognor midfielder has been back with the Easter Road club, managed by Neil Lennon, this week for a second stint after his first was cut short by a stomach bug.

Tommy Block on the ball at Nyewood Lane / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Tommy Block on the ball at Nyewood Lane / Picture by Tommy McMillan

Block is a former Havant & South Downs College sports student - he was at the college in 2015, studying the BTEC level-three extended diploma in sport and performance.

Only a year after finishing the course, he was approached by a football scout and was offered an opportunity he couldn’t resist.

Block, who had time with Brighton and Hove Albion as a youngster, said: “I was playing a game for Bognor last season and they came to watch one of my games and they said they liked me, so they flew me up.

“They’ve got a scout database with all the players names across my league and they flew a scout down to one of my games they said they liked me. They sent that scout back, and the head scout came down to watch me play against Braintree.

“They rang me that day saying to come up to Scotland to take part in the trials.”

Lennon to welcome Block back
Midfielder on target during Hibs stint
Block has been playing football since he was four years old. His passion grew from watching games at Pagham FC, the club his dad used to manage.

From under-11s to under-16s he played for Brighton.

Last month, Block flew to Scotland for the Hibs trial. He said: “I went up there on the Sunday ready for the training on the Monday. I trained with the first team and it went really well.

“I was really nervous, it was my first time playing pro. On Tuesday I went to training in the morning and played a game they organised for the evening. I scored which was great - they said they were really happy with the way I was playing.

“The tempo was so much faster compared to the level that I play at now. But you get so many more options on the ball, so they cancel each other out. It’s so much faster but there are more people to pass to, you don’t even have to look.

“They gave me a bit of feedback, but I got ill in the second half of the week, so I didn’t get to play for the full week. They said they wanted me to go up again, so I think it all sounds pretty positive.”

Block said his former college had been a big help to him.

“I get quite nervous before trials but whenever I had trials whilst at college the staff and my friends would help me relax for the week leading up to them.

“I had a good group of mates here, we all had a laugh and got involved with things like charity walks together. On the pitch my highlight was nearly winning the league. It was a good experience going different places with the college team.”

Offering advice to future students, Block added: “Work hard, relax, train whenever you can, develop yourself and always do more. If you’re really serious about football you have to keep your head down. I’ve never been the best player, but I’ve worked harder than anyone else to get where I am.”