Midfielder Prince Buaben started the first part of an epic journey this morning when he travelled down from Scotland to discuss terms over a deal which, when finalised, will keep him at Brunton Park until the end of the current campaign.
His travels continue tomorrow morning when he sets off to join his team mates on the outskirts of Milton Keynes before taking in the game from the dug out ... and then heading back up north to start the next phase of his career.
We spoke to him about what has been a whirlwind series of events earlier this afternoon.
“My head is spinning at the moment but, to be honest, I’m not a fan of all this paperwork and stuff like that,” he said. “I just want to get out on the pitch and do my job.
“Basically I just want to be playing football. It’s been a while for me - August last year - when I had the bad injury so things haven’t gone well for me through that. Hopefully I can pick it up from here.”
“I'm completely over that now and I’m ready to go,” he insisted. “It took six or seven months to get back from the injury but I’ve been training every day since then with no problem.
“I just didn’t really get a chance again at Watford but these things happen in football. You just have to keep your head up and keep doing what you do best.”
“I am here because I spoke to the manager and I spoke to some players who have been here before,” he explained. “I know Joe Garner, who used to be here, and I heard nothing but good things. I know Danny Cadamarteri and he spoke very highly of the manager and of Carlisle.
“The manager told me that he wants his team to play football and that’s how I like to play as well. He said he'd spoken to Gianfranco Zola, even before it was decided that he wanted to sign me, and he'd been told some nice things.
“He has also watched me, and had me watched, and he liked what he saw. I think that can be key for the player because when a manager wants you it makes you want to sign more. He said some good things and I really appreciated it. I’m just delighted that I’m here now.”
“I do feel like I’ve got loads of points to prove just now,” he admitted. “I’ve been out for a long time but I still have so much hunger for the game. I just want to get on the pitch, do what I do best, and start smiling again.
“This has been a tough year just gone but I’m determined to forget it and have a better year ahead. That has started for me with a club like Carlisle United giving me a chance. People might say that I could do better but this is an important step for me. I want to get playing again and I think this club has a good chance of going up. I will do my best to help that by giving 110% and, hopefully, I’ll be fulfilling my dreams at the same time.”
As to what type of player we can expect to see, he said: “Overall I’m a box-to-box midfielder. I like to try and pass the ball round and play as well as I can.
“It is really frustrating to have signed but still not be able to play. I was hoping the deal would be done so that I could play at MK Dons but it hasn’t happened that way. Things take time sometimes and, let’s face it, I’ve waited for a year so another few days isn’t too bad. It gives me the chance to train and hopefully prove to the manager that I’m worth a place in the team.”
His career started, of course, in Holland with one of the best known clubs in the world and he was quick to point out that there was no better place to get a firm grounding in the game.
“The youth system at Ajax was really great,” he said. “I learned a heck of a lot and it was probably something new every day. The chance to move to Dundee came along and that was very exciting. I got the chance to play in two cup finals with them and to win one of those was amazing.
“Watford was also really good because I played over 30 games for them and I think I was appreciated by the fans and the manager down there. Unfortunately the injury came last year and, like I say, that happens in football. That was a bad thing but I think I can be proud of what I’ve done over the years.”
“I’ve played a few reserve games over the last few months, and things like that, so I am feeling quite good,” he told us. “I got a full 90 minutes last week in Scotland and I think I did quite well. I honestly think that if you’re in the right frame of mind then the football will come with it. I know I haven’t played for over a year in a competitive match but I’m looking forward to it.”
“I did have a few other offers to think about but they didn’t really suit me or my family,” he said. “You need to be happy with what you’re doing in this game and I have a little son who I want to be close to. That, along with the football and the club, means this is the best deal for me.
“I am really excited about all of this. I just can’t wait to play. The manager has given me until the end of the season and that is fantastic. I want to prove to him that I really do deserve that deal. The first step is to go and meet the lads, because the manager wants me to see how they play, and then we'll get on with it from there.
"Fingers crossed we will come away with the three points.”
United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Prince Buaben now. Click HERE
to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.
to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.