Club captain Paul Thirlwell on his ninth season at Brunton Park
Club captain Paul Thirlwell returned from the summer break to start his ninth season with the club this morning and he made sure his first task was to put pen-to-paper on his new one year deal.
“The contract was pretty much sorted during the summer and it was just a case of coming in and getting it signed,” he said. “I’m very pleased to be back with the club so here we go again.
“There was never any doubt about it happening. I think it was just the logistics of getting everyone together, particularly with me being away on my A licence course during the summer, but I made sure I was in constant contact with the manager.
“It’s always a relief to get it done but with the amount of time I’ve been at the club it was a case of - I trust them and they trust me. That meant I could enjoy my summer knowing I was going to come back ready to get things going again.”
“It doesn’t feel like nine seasons at the club at all,” he admitted. “As you get older time seems to fly and you do start to wonder where it’s gone.
“I can still remember walking through the door for the first time, when I initially came here on loan, and it only seems like two minutes ago. The first day anywhere still has that extra buzz about it because you know you’re coming back to do a bit of hard running.
“Thankfully it isn’t all about that these days because there is a lot more sport science involved. The run until you’re sick sessions don’t really happen any more but, whatever it is we do, I’m just looking forward to getting on with it.
“I still seem to be the go-to guy for most things in the dressing room. It’s all good fun, to be fair, but it is also a serious thing. When I do talk to the senior management we always seem to come to a conclusion where there are no winners, so I don’t know if I’m doing a good job or not.”
“I don’t really mind pre-season at all,” he said. “I still take it in my stride, even though that’s getting slower each year, but it’s something you just have to get on with. Mind you, it’s definitely not as easy as it was ten years ago.”
“The summer has been tough, to be honest, with what happened to us at the end of last season,” he told us. “Letting so many people go was a hard thing for Kav to do but the positive aspect is that we will have a group of fresh faces who haven’t been through that. They will be here with the intention of getting us up to the top of this league.
“We do need to put it behind us and the only time people will stop talking about it is when we start picking up results. That will bring some positivity to the place and hopefully it will get people back through the gates.”
On the possibility of taking on new roles, he said: “I did a few extra things for the management team last year and I really enjoyed it. I’ve had a chat with Kav and I’m here predominantly as a player.
“If I’m not playing I’ll make sure whoever has got the shirt is earning their corn. That’s the same for anyone who isn’t playing. You’ve got to push to be involved because that will make the starting eleven even better.
“If he does need me to take on one of the various roles, be that scouting or whatever, then I am happy to do it. I’m not going to play forever and it’s nice to look at different things. The coaching course was part of that because that’s always something I’ve been keen to do. St George’s Park is a great facility and it was good to get my course underway.”
“That’s all done now and I’m looking forward to the start of the season, particularly with the visits of Luton and Derby,” he concluded. “It’s always good to come up against a former club and we had another boost when it was announced that it was on Sky. Let’s just hope we get a positive start to what will be a positive season.”