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INTERVIEW: I've seen what can happen here

22 May 2015

Luke Joyce on signing for United for a second time

United's third summer signing Luke Joyce spoke to us about rejoining Carlisle United just moments after his deal was agreed on Wednesday afternoon.

"It's nice to get it sorted," he said. "Summer can be a time of uncertainty for footballers because you're out of contract and you've got your family and your house to think about. 

"I'm going on my family holiday this week so it gives us peace of mind and we can go away and relax now." 

"I found out the club were interested a couple of weeks ago," he told us. "I've kept in touch with people like Chris Lumsdon, and we've trained at MK Dons at the same time as Carlisle United a few times, so I've spoken to the Chairman and Steven Pattison who were saying nice things about me. 

"I've always done quite well when I've played against Carlisle for Accrington so I think it's just come from that really. Keith [Curle] got in touch last week and I came up to Carlisle on Monday.

"I didn't really need showing around the ground but a few things have changed! The gym has been upgraded and the manager was telling me about where they train, and things like that, so the professionalism has gone up a level or two. It's the type of environment I want to be working in."

"It was quite a strange feeling when I came up with my dad on Monday," he admitted. "You're not always 100% sure whether it's the right thing, to go back to club you've been at before, but it felt right. 

"I spoke to Keith for an hour or so and my dad said he could tell I had a bit of a buzz about me. I liked what I heard and it just feels right. There has been little bits of interest from elsewhere because obviously I was out of contract at Accrington. 

"I've been at Accrington a long time and I think this was the right time in my career to seize my opportunity to move on. I turned down an offer from another League Two club last week, and Accrington had made me another offer, but as soon as I knew there was serious interest from Carlisle I was really keen to speak to them. I'm glad that it's worked out well."

"It's been a really tough decision for me to leave Accrington," he commented. "For myself and for my wife Emily, Accrington is only 35 minutes from my house, and it's a great little club. I've been there six years and I haven't missed many games over that time. I've had some fantastic times there and I've really loved it.

"I think it's fair to say that if it wasn't for Accrington giving me an opportunity after I left Carlisle I might not be a professional footballer now. They were the only ones at the time who wanted to sign me and that allowed me to keep my career going. I've loved every second and I've made some fantastic memories and some very good friends.

"There's a limited squad and a limited budget down there so there are only so many players they can bring in. When you're going through a tough patch, in terms of form or results, it isn't so easy for the manager to bring in new players so they have to stick with you. They work hard with what they've got and there's a real team spirit.

"The facilities aren't great, the budget isn't fantastic and they don't get massive crowds, but the people who do go and the people who are involved love that club with a passion. They all do everything to keep it going and to make it successful. Like I say, it's a fantastic place to be and it has been very hard to leave all of that behind."

On having the captain's armband at Accrington, he said: "It meant a lot to me. I had it for three and a half years, since I was 23 or 24, which is relatively young. It was something I was immensely proud of because I loved wearing the armband and leading the lads out. 

"I tried to lead by example and it was something I really enjoyed. It has been a tough decision but it's one I feel I'm making at the right time."

And on heading back up north, he told us: "The first time I signed for Carlisle the team was riding high at the top of League Two. There was a massive buzz about the place. We had some great players and characters so I've seen what can happen here when things are going well.

"Even when we played Carlisle at Accrington this season, they brought 1,000 fans. That is unbelievable. It's the kind of following you want to see as a player because it can make such a difference to your performances and results. I'm really looking forward to playing in front of crowds like that.

"The fans have been great to me every time we've played against Carlisle. After the warm up at Brunton Park, and after the game, I got a nice reception and it means a lot as a player when you've been at a club and the fans still remember you in a good way. I'm looking forward to building an ever stronger relationship with them."

Part two of this interview will appear on the official website on Saturday morning.

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