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INTERVIEW: I jumped at it

20 May 2015

Defender Michael Raynes on signing for United

We spoke to defender Michael Raynes shortly after he arrived at Brunton Park to put pen to paper on his one-year deal.

"I found out this was happening last week," he explained. "I met the gaffer and he sold the club to me, so it was an easy decision. 

"When you get an offer from a club like this you can't turn it down. It's a great opportunity at a good club, so when I heard about the interest my mind was already made up." 

"It's all happened quite quickly and I think that’s the best way for it to be," he added. "I can enjoy my summer now and get ready for pre-season.

"I did have a little bit of interest from elsewhere but it's still early, so it's a case of either holding out or signing something. If I'm being honest I don't think I could get much better than this, so as soon as I heard about the opportunity I jumped at it.

"The gaffer has told me about the plans he's got in place and it sounds right up my street. I've already talked to the strength and conditioning coach and there's a real feeling of professionalism around the place. It seems like a perfect club for me to be at and hopefully I'll start enjoying my football again."

"Carlisle United is a big club and I've always liked playing here," he said. "I think the club is going in the right direction and hopefully I can be a big part of that. There are a lot of decent clubs in League Two this year so I think it will be a tough league.

"The season the club has just had didn't put me off because you only have to look at what Wycombe did this time round. I think there's only a 5-10% difference from the bottom to the top of this league and it's about getting the balance right. Someone next year will have a really good season and there's no reason why it can't be us." 

On walking into his new dressing room at the end of June, he said: "I know Gary Dicker from my time at Stockport, so that helps, but I always enjoy coming to a new club and meeting a lot of new faces.

"I know Colin West as well. He gave me my debut at Stockport when I was just 17 ... and that feels like a long time ago now. I know Colin knows what I'm about and he's my sort of person. If I need shouting at he will be there to give it to me, and that's how I like it."

And on his time at Mansfield at the end of last season, he said: "It was a tough period, I'd been at Oxford and I didn't really get to play through the first half of the season. Joining a new club in January was always going to be difficult because I hadn't played all season, so I was always trying to catch up.

"I didn't really get to show my true worth while I was at Mansfield. I would probably say I showed 70% of what I can do. I went there to keep them up, and we did that, but it just didn't work out well enough for me to extend it." 

"I think what I've been through this past 12 months will make me a better player," he commented. "I've been round the block and I've seen most things, which will hopefully stand me in good stead for what is to come.

"I want a good season. I had some good times at Oxford but there was also a bit frustration because we didn't achieve what we wanted to when we were in great positions to go up."

"Last year was one of my worst in football because I just couldn't get going," he explained. "I probably ended up working too hard to try and get going again. Sometimes that happens in football and your hard work doesn't pay off.

"To have a clean slate at a new club will hopefully mean I reap the rewards. I played up here towards the end of last season and Carlisle beat us 2-1. It was definitely a game of two halves, because of the wind, but people will have got a little taste of what I was about then."

Talking about what United fans can expect to see, he said: "I'll give everything because that's what I'm all about. I love the physical battles so I'm not going to be Rio Ferdinand doing Cruyff turns on the edge of my box, but I'll give my all every single day. I think that's all you can ask of anyone. 

"I'm really looking forward to getting on with it and it is really good to have the deal done. I think I'll treat my missus to a holiday now. It's a scary time when you're out of contract because you are thinking about what will come next.

"I managed to persuade her not to book anything until I got myself sorted and we're in a position to do that now. I'll have a bit of a break and give myself a clean slate before I start building up to the season.

"I'll work hard before we come back for pre-season. I've spoken to Lee Fearn and he's already given me a programme to do. I don't mind the double sessions at all when we get back because I know I need to do it.

"No matter what I do during the close season I'm always at the back of the runs when we first come back. I'm the kind who likes to slowly build myself up, I think that's just the way my body works because it's not that easy to get around when you're 6"4!

"I'm excited about the new challenge because I've had a year of banging my head against a wall. I think this is going to be a good experience for me at what is a decent club. 

"I just want to play football and enjoy it again. My old man always said when you're enjoying your football you play at your best. I think that's going to be the case here."

United Player subscribers can see a video interview with Michael Raynes now. Click HERE to go to the Player platform. Follow the same link for more information on United Player, and to subscribe.

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