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INTERVIEW: Move on as much as I can

19 December 2013

Courtney Meppen-Walter on his two year deal

Defender Courtney Meppen-Walter signed a two-and-a-half year deal at Brunton Park ahead of kick off at the Tranmere home game last Saturday having made an immediate impact at the club, both with his attitude in training and on his debut with a man-of-the-match display in the FA Cup second round win over Brentford.

“It’s one of the best starts I could have asked for to come into the team and get these results,” he said. “I’ve still got a lot to learn but hopefully there’ll be more of this and that’ll keep happening for me along the way.”

“I found out I was making my debut on the Friday before the Brentford game,” he explained. “Kav spoke to me on the Thursday and asked me if I was ready. I told him I was up for it. It came to the Friday and he then told me I was starting. That was when I knew for definite that I was ready.

“I’ve always had a lot of confidence in my ability. I’ve been given a second chance now and I just want to take it. I’d been out for such a long time that I found the first couple of days to be really tough. 

“I’ve gradually got used to it again and I think I’m getting back up to full pace. I’m not quite there yet but I think I will be very soon. I feel like I’m probably at about 70% at the moment. Another three or four weeks should do it for me.”

“I’ve loved playing the games and they’ve probably been the highlights of my career so far,” he continued. “I owe a lot to Kav because he has brought me into the team and put a lot of trust in me. I just want to repay that on the pitch.”

And on signing his contract, he said: “Kav put faith in me right from the start and I didn’t want it to be a case of coming here then leaving straight away. To be honest, I didn’t really speak about any other club at all. I’ve wanted to sign here from the moment I got here. I’m hoping this is now a chance for me to kick on and move forward with my career.

“It’s a great bunch of lads and I enjoy coming into work every day now. That’s all I can ask for. You need good people around you to help you and that’s what we have here. There’s a good mix in the dressing room and they all get on with each other. I’ve been living in the club house and that has helped me to get to know people as well.”

“One of the most humbling parts of being here is the way the fans have reacted,” he admitted. “If they hadn’t been like this I don’t think I’d have been able to perform. I heard the reaction from the crowd when it was announced that I’d signed my contract before kick off on Saturday and it gave me tingles right through my body. It came as a bit of a surprise to hear that and it’s something I’ve never had before. It just felt really good.

“I don’t think I’d have been able to sign the new contract if it had been any different. It’s been a really positive reaction from everyone and that has made me feel very proud. I just want to thank the fans so much because it means a lot. Hopefully I can do them proud and give them something back, out on the pitch, for the way they have got behind me.”

Commenting on what he wants from the next few years, he told us: “Every player is ambitious and I have set myself goals. You always want to do better and better and that’s hopefully what I can do. I’ll keep working hard in training and I’ll try to take my chances when I’m given them.

“My favourite position is definitely as a centre back but I don’t really know what the best parts of my game are. However, I definitely know what my bad parts are! I’ve still got a lot of improving to do.”

His return to football comes following an eight month spell in prison when he was convicted of causing death by careless driving in a road traffic accident just under two years ago.

“The last couple of years have been very difficult,” he said. “I’ve had my family to get me through it and that’s been a huge help to me. 

“I don’t think there are enough words to describe how much I regret it. I wish it had never happened and I just want to say sorry for everything that did happen. If I could take it back I honestly would, with all my heart. I’m just so sorry.

“It’ll be something that will be in the back of my mind every single day and I’ll never forget about it. All I can do is try and move forward with my football now.”

“Going to prison is not a positive thing but it does make you appreciate a lot of things,” he confirmed. “It’s a repetitive routine and you just have to get through each day. It makes you really think about what you’ve done, and you don’t ever feel too good about that.

“It’s made me a completely different person to what I was. If you knew me beforehand I’m sure you’d never recognise me as the person I am now. I had a lot of time to think about what happened and I’ve matured a lot. I definitely respect everyone around me more. I think about my actions and what they could mean before I do them.

“I do hope others can learn from the mistakes I’ve made. I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through, or what all of the other families and my family went through. I want people to see what happened to me and hopefully it will stop them from doing what I did. 

“What happened to me is negative for a lot of reasons but I want it to be used positively for others, particularly young people. If someone had told me that I was going to crash and kill two people when I was young I’d have told them that would never happen. I probably thought I was invincible and I don’t want kids to think that’s the case. They have to think about everything they do or bad things can happen.

“If people really knew me they’d know how much it has affected me and how my life will never be the same again. My mum is the one who has been there for me. She has probably had an even harder time than me. It’s broken her heart because she has had to think about what has happened to that family and what has happened to me.  

“People will have their own opinions but if they get to know me as a person then I hope they will feel that I do deserve a second chance. I really think it’s a good club and I wouldn’t have signed unless that was the case. I think I can be part of good things here and, like I say, I want to concentrate on my football and try to move on as much as I can.” 

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