Michael Raynes on 350 career startsDefender Michael Raynes made his 350th career start in the home game against Colchester United last weekend so we spoke to him about what it’s like to reach such a significant milestone.
“You’ve got to say that 350 is a lovely number and I definitely would have taken that at the start of my career,” he said. “I would have bitten hands off if someone had offered me that. I’m thankful to everyone who has helped me along the way and hopefully there’s still many more to come.
“I’m only 28 so I’ve still got plenty of time. I was lucky because I started playing when I was really young at Stockport. I broke in and I’ve been involved ever since, so it’s good to get those numbers early.
“I noticed it was the same for Danny [Grainger] on Saturday and he does love taking my glory. Everything I do he seems to stick his big head in the way. On a serious note it was lovely to share the milestone with him and it’s a good thing for us both to have hit that number.”
“Like I say, it’s a nice milestone to reach but it’s crept up on me,” he admitted. “I got to 250 during my time at Oxford and that only feels like yesterday, even though it was two-and-a-bit years ago now. It’s scary how fast it’s going, and it seems to be getting faster the older I get!
“I haven’t hit the heights in my career that some boys have had, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Some of the people I’ve met and some of the experiences I’ve been through in football have been amazing. Everything I’ve got in life is down to football. It’s paid for the roof over my head and given me and my family everything we have now.”
“I know I said I haven’t had the highs in my career that some lads have had, but I mean that in terms of playing in the Premier League and things like that,” he explained. “Having said that, I’ve still had a very good career.
“I’ve been so lucky, I’ve worked hard and I’ve managed to have a good go at the Championship, League One and League Two. I wouldn’t change my journey for anything, I’ve enjoyed every second of it.
“I’ve never taken anything for granted and since I was 17-years-old I’ve always been looking for the next contract. I’ve had the mindset from day one that this could be my last contract because I’m still proving myself every day, even with this amount of games under my belt.
“That’s the way football is. I’ve still got to prove myself to get another contract but that’s part and parcel of the job. I’ve never been one of those players who thinks he’ll automatically have a contract next year. You’ve got to work to get it and enjoy it while you can because we’ll all finish at some point.”
“I think you do have to be thankful for every season you get,” he commented. “Everybody can go through bad patches in their career, but that doesn’t make you a bad player. Sometimes in football luck doesn’t go your way.
“I’ve played with lads who are better players than me but they’re out of the game because the football luck didn’t fall for them. I don’t take anything for granted, I get up every morning and try to work hard and enjoy it while I’m here.”
In the second part of our interview, on the website on Thursday morning, Michael Raynes talks about an eventful if very brief debut and charity activity away from football which still makes him feel very proud.