Gary Liddle talks about signing for UnitedWe spoke to new signing Gary Liddle ahead of his first training session with the club on Thursday morning to get his thoughts on signing for United.
“It’s nice to finally get it sorted,” he said. “It’s taken a while in the background but I’m really happy to be here now. I was pretty close to joining last season, the gaffer showed his interest last January, and having worked with him at Notts County it was something I was interested in back then.
“In the end I went to Chesterfield with the ambition of wanting to stay in League One. I’m really pleased to be here now and I’m looking forward to what can hopefully be a very successful end to the season.
“Looking from the outside in at the work which has gone on at the football club, on and off the field, the success that’s brought so far has been fantastic. I’m hoping I can contribute in any way the manager needs me to in having another successful end to the season."
“I get along well with the manager and Westy [Colin West] from my time at Notts County," he told us. "I played every game for them and I played some of my best football under Keith. I went to Notts County after six years at Hartlepool so it was a complete change of scenery for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m hoping I can get the same here.
"He's told me that the squad of players he has here is the best he's ever worked with. We had a really good squad at Notts County so that is one heck of a compliment to these lads from him.
“Confidence is high and there’s a buzz around the club at the moment, which I can feel just from meeting the backroom staff when I’ve been signing my contract. It just shows that the work which has gone into the team has been good."
Speaking about his preferred role, he said: “I’m happy to play anywhere through the middle really, apart from striker! I enjoy playing in midfield or central defence. At Notts County Keith predominantly used me in defence, but that was because of an injury at the time. I did well so he stuck with me there.
“I’ve signed a decent length contract and I’ll be hoping to stay here and put some roots down. I’ve lasted a long time at every club I’ve played for and I've played a good number of games. I’m not one to miss games or training sessions. I’m a fit lad and if I join a football club I want them to get their money’s worth."
“I do still get a little bit nervous going into training sessions at a new club," he admitted. "I’m approaching 500 games now and I’ve probably done four times as many training sessions, but meeting new lads is always exciting. I know Jason Kennedy and Charlie Wyke already from living locally to them, but I’m excited to meet them all and I’m just looking forward to the weekend now.
“I’ve kept in touch with Jason for many years. I grew up with him at Middlesbrough and I know he’s loved every minute since he’s been here. I played alongside him at Bradford as well and I’m glad to see he’s doing well here.
“Charlie was a few of years younger than me at Middlesbrough but to see the goals he’s scoring with the potential he’s got has been great. His goals have helped the club get to where they are at the moment and hopefully he can continue that form, along with everyone else, and we can make it a memorable season.
“There are a few lads in the dressing room who I’ve played against. I’ve seen a few of them on my way in and they’ve been very welcoming. I’ll go in the dressing room and introduce myself ... I do have a few butterflies but I’m looking forward to it."
And he admitted that he's also looking forward to taking to the field at the weekend, should the manager choose to use him in the starting line up.
“I’ve played here a few times and from what I’ve seen in the past the fans really get behind their team," he told us. "As an away team it’s always said you’ve got to try and implement your game because if you don’t the fans will get right behind their team.
"I saw that there was a massive turn out in numbers for the last home game and hopefully that can continue. That support is what the team will need going into the final few months of the season - the fans will be vital."
On the highlights of his career, which has seen him play 483 games for four different clubs, he said: “I think the real highlight was during my time at Bradford. I was lucky enough to play at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup against Chelsea. We won 4-2 after being 2-0 down and it’s a day I’ll certainly never forget.
“I was promoted once at Hartlepool which was another great occasion. That’s the reason I’ve joined Carlisle. I’m hoping I can mirror that and make it a memorable occasion for everyone connected with the football club.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Hartlepool. I live in Middlesbrough so they’re a local team and a club which is close to me. I spent six years there and it was the making of me in terms of playing in men’s football. It’s a time I’ll never forget.
“I’m back down in League Two for the first time in ten years now and hopefully we won’t be here too long."
And on the year with his most recent club, he said: “It’s been difficult at Chesterfield. We weren’t really sure what was happening from one week to the next, but from what I hear everything is sorted now.
"Although results haven’t been great recently, or for the best part of the season, the lads are still confident that they can get out of the trouble they currently find themselves in.
"There’s seven or eight teams at the bottom of League One who are all vying for points at the moment and I hope Chesterfield can get a bit of consistency and get out of trouble.
"I have to say, it was an honour to be made club captain there. It didn't quite work out in the end but it's a good club and I wish them well."
On what the manager wants from him during his time at the club, he said: “The gaffer has told me that I’m joining a club with a lot of confidence, and so it should be with the position they are in the league.
"He’s just hoping I can be part of the jigsaw that can help push the club on further."