INTERVIEW: Made me feel really proud

Midfielder Kyle Dempsey on being handed the captain's armband

First year professional Kyle Dempsey gave us his reaction to becoming the youngest player to wear the captain’s armband for the club for the 1-0 victory over Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.

“I didn’t find out it was happening until after our pre-match meal,” he revealed. “The gaffer pulled me to one side and he had a bit of paper which had the word ‘captain’ with a question mark written next to my name. 

“I looked at him and I said – me? He said, ‘yeah it’s obviously you.’ I told him I was definitely up for it so I took it up and I thought I did a good job with it.”

“It’s made me feel really proud,” he said. “I’ve been told I’m the youngest ever to have captained the club and it’s just nice to lead the squad and help us to get a massive win.

“It’s been a huge experience for me. It’s another part of the learning curve and it can only be good. Before the game I had people like Paul Thirlwell, Danny Grainger and Sean O’Hanlon giving me advice. 

“They told me to keep calm and make sure I played the game the way I always do. They said I needed to be a bit more communicative but it didn’t feel like they were putting any added pressure on me. I think everyone just wanted me to enjoy it. Being honest, I did feel a little bit of extra pressure. There were a few comments on social media asking how I would handle it but, like I say, I think it went well.”

“Having the armband gave me more in the way of drive,” he admitted. “I wanted to win every single tackle and get to anything that dropped anywhere near me. I wanted to show I was the captain and I was leading the team in every way. It probably goes without saying I’ll be fighting to keep the armband now that I’ve had it once. I really enjoyed it and hopefully I’ve shown why I was picked to do it.

“I’ve done it before, when I captained the youth team for a season, but it was nothing like this. I never thought for a minute I’d be doing it for the first team.

“I think my family were probably even more chuffed than I was. I was getting messages of support off them and I think my mam even shed a tear or two.”

On the game itself, he said: “It probably wasn’t the best for the fans to watch, but the main thing is we got three points. That’s all that matters at the moment. 

“I think there was a good feeling in the dressing before kick off because all we wanted to do was get out, do the job and prove to the fans that we’re going to stay up.

“It was massively important for us to win it. We’ve been talking about it since we came away from Southend on Saturday. I think the positive attitude we had before the game led to the result we got.”

“It’s great to be out of the bottom two,” he said. “It takes a lot of pressure off. We’re now looking to the next game and thinking about climbing further away again. The four defeats we suffered did have a negative affect on the lads and that’s why it was important for us to put it right. 

“We need to build on it now by hopefully stringing a good run together. The lads are definitely up for it because the music was bouncing and we were all celebrating the win in the dressing room after the game. You can tell the team spirit is back and I think we’ll be pushing on from here.

“The fans were brilliant for us. You could hear them all the way through the game and the reaction when you put the tackles in makes you want to do more of the same again. It’s just a case of looking forward to another home game against Exeter City now.”

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