Life as a Professional
Any footballer will tell you that they want to play first team football. I
was no different so in view of the fact that even reserve team football became
highly competitive, I took the opportunity to go out on loan and join Carlisle
in October 2002. Pleasingly I scored on my debut against Torquay and during
the loan period played nine games, scoring six times.
My time at Carlisle was very enjoyable, both on and off the pitch. The club
were run very well, the players were treated well and I felt at home. The Chairman;
John Courtney was good to get on with. He did his thing behind a desk and didn't
attempt to interfere with anything on the football side. The gaffer; Roddy Collins
was also a good man to work for and it was a shame things didn't work out for
him. Me and Roddy didn't always see eye to eye and we had many run ins during
the course of the season but he gave me a chance to play first team football
and I'll always be grateful to him for that.
At Leeds my chances of progression were poor, and players in a similar situation
to myself; Simon Johnson, Jamie McMaster were also finding it increasingly difficult
to break through. I was behind Mark Viduka, Alan Smith, Robbie Keane, Harry
Kewell, Robbie Fowler and Michael Bridgesin the pecking order and I had to be
honest with myself, I thought it better for my own development that I gain first
team experience in the third divison, rather than youth team football at Leeds.
As a result I signed for Carlisle in November 2002 after agreeing a two and
half year contract that would see me though until the summer of 2005.
As we approached season 2003/4 I felt at best we could push for a play-off
position, but as it happened, we simply weren't good enough. We didn't have
enough quality or depth in the squad and we struggled...badly.
As I write in early April 2004, it looks like we may be in a position to pull
off what will be a miraculous escape. People at the club still talk about Jimmy
Glass and the 'great escape' of a few years back.
Jimmy Glass; the great escape!!
Whilst nothing will ever beat the sheer drama of that goal and that game, the
acheivement of the team in the second half of the season has been unbeleivable.
If we make it, it must rank as one of the best comebacks ever seen in league
With Roddy Collins moving on, Paul Simpson took over and brought in a number
of key players. These signings have been instrumental in our revival, the gaffer's
either the luckiest football manager on the planet, or he really knows his stuff...I
know what he'll tell you!! He's brought in Kevin Gray, Tom Cowan, Paul Arnison,
Mark Boyd, Andy Preece, and Peter Duffield and the transformation has been incredible.
The gaffer's management style is quite a contrast from Roddy Collins. Paul Simpson
is calm and collected in his team talks and he also prefers to play football.
Dennis Booth has also played a big part on the training pitch, we're training
harder and smarter...and enjoying it. We all enjoy 'coming to work' and hope
that we've enough time to reign in the likes of York, Rochdale, Darlington and