Part two of a look back at 350 career starts with Michael RaynesIn the second part of our interview with defender Michael Raynes we first took a look back at his senior debut which saw him pick up a yellow card without quite managing to get a touch on the ball.
“I was at Stockport and I’d just turned 17 when I made my debut,” he said. “It was for Mark Lillis and it was just after Sammy McIlroy had been sacked. We played Swansea away and I came on in the 89th minute. Typical me, I didn’t touch the ball and I got booked! That set my career up really!
“Chris Turner and Westy [Colin West] gave me my full debut at Torquay. I think we won 2-1 and I’ve never looked back from there. I played defensive midfield for a while, under Jim Gannon, but I had good players around me including the likes of Gary Dicker. That made it easier.
“I was the big lad in the middle and I just had to give the ball to the painters and let them paint, as they say. I enjoyed that but I dropped back into my slot at centre half very quickly and that’s where I’ve stayed.”
When asked about his proudest moment, he moved matters off the field to talk about a charity project which still fills him with pride to this day.
“I feel extremely proud about something I was able to do outside of the game, but it was an opportunity football gave us,” he told us. “We managed to raise money when I was at Scunthorpe for a young lad to go to America and have an operation which allowed him to walk again.
“I still see his mum appear on Facebook and I chat to her a bit. In terms of what football brought that was definitely my best moment. For us to be able to help him get his mobility back – it’s difficult to put into words what that means.”
“Obviously the football is also extremely important,” he continued. “I still get excited and nervous before a game and I don’t think that will ever go away. I come in every day and try to enjoy myself because I know one day I’m going to have to get a proper job.
“While this is here I just want to make the most of it. I’m rubbish at keeping tabs on milestones but it’s always nice when they come up. I’m thankful to my family because I’ve missed a lot of parties and family events over the years. My missus can’t plan anything on a weekend because you never know what’s going to be happening. I’m thankful for all of their support.”
And as for any advice he would give to young boys and girls looking to forge a career in sport, he said: “Enjoy yourself every day, work as hard as you can, but please do make sure you enjoy yourself every day. When it comes down to it, if you enjoy what you do you perform at a higher level.
“My time here with Carlisle United so far is definitely up there in terms of me enjoying my football. I’ve had a couple of promotions in the past and there are a lot of the same features here.
“You don’t want to talk too soon, because we’re only a quarter of the way through the season with a long way to go, but there are good signs. We know there are going to be a lot of hurdles to get through to make sure we get to where we want to be.
“From the start of the season we knew we’d be a scalp because of the people we’ve got in the dressing room. We’re a hard team to play against and we want to keep it that way.”