FLYING Dutch winger Sidney Schmeltz had almost given up hope of carving out a career in English football until Paul Murray called.
The 25-year-old spent eight months training twice a day with his dad Stanley, in Utrecht, Holland, while he waited for the phone to ring after being released by Oldham.
That call finally came from Murray after taking over as Hartlepool United boss and he offered the winger a short-term deal.
Schmeltz repaid that faith immediately when he came on as a second-half sub against Newport County and helped inspire Pools to a dramatic 2-2 draw at Victoria Park.
Murray knew the winger from his time as Oldham’s first tea coach, Schmeltz made 17 appearances for the Latics last season before moving on loan to Shrewsbury, where he played three times before returning home.
“I didn’t think I was going to get a second chance of playing football in England and I had cancelled everything here – after Shrewsbury I thought it was a done deal,” said Schmeltz who is set to feature in Saturday’s FA Cup tie against East Thurrock.
“But I was still hoping and speaking to my agent every day asking if anything was possible.
“I love England, love the lifestyle and the people and I think I fit well here.”
Lively Schmeltz was born and raised in Utrecht, but his parents are originally from Surinam, in south America.
The winger played for Willem II Tilburg, before spending a year each at Almere, Sparta Rotterdam and SC Veendam before joining Oldham.
He admits he had found it hard being out of football for so long before joining Sky Bet League Two Pools last week.
“It is a big release for me, playing football,” Schmeltz told SportMail.
“I had a great life in Manchester when I was at Oldham but then went back home because my daughter and girlfriend are there.
“But it was hard not doing anything, just sitting at home.
“I had a lot of friends, who were playing matches every week and I was watching them but after two months I couldn’t watch anymore because I was getting frustrated every time I saw a ball.
“Then my dad Stanley came and he took me out of the house with a ball.
“We were training two times a day, in the morning at 6am we would start running and at 6pm in the evening we would do technical training on the pitch.
“That got me out of a bit of a rut because I was a little bit depressed.
“I had a lot of time to think and I was just committing to my daughter, to my family and what is important.
“I am also a big believer in God and I think that helped me a lot.”
The wingman insists he always believed his new side could get back into the Newport game on Saturday.
Schmeltz said he was keen to make an instant impact when he came on as a 64th minute sub, shooting with his first touch.
He then had a hand in both goals, with Brad Walker and Michael Duckworth helping Pools to a morale-boosting draw.
Pools remain bottom of League Two and Schmeltz admits the buzz of coming back from two-nil down felt like a victory for the players in the dressing room afterwards.
He added: “It has not been going well the last couple of weeks, so it did feel a little like a victory.
“The way we have played we showed we have the passion and commitment and the communication was good.
“Lets keep a clean sheet and the win will follow.”