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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Carlisle is a lovely place

Anthony Gerrard on his immediate future and the Boxing Day win

28 December 2018

Defender Anthony Gerrard was one of the stand-out performers in a solid defensive display on Boxing Day as he helped United to a convincing 6-0 victory over his former club Oldham Athletic.

Match Reports

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Speaking after the game, he said: “I thought it was a fantastic performance from the boys. The finishing was very clinical and we despatched an Oldham side that has been on a very good run of late.

“The good thing is that we got a clean sheet, goals galore and another great set piece by Danny [Grainger]. We defended when we had to defend, and we also had to dig it out at times.

“We talked about catching them on the counter before the game and I thought we nailed that, to be fair. In the analysis we spoke about getting the full backs advanced so we could exploit the space behind them. I think we did that perfectly.

“When you have speed, as we have in our side, you’ll always be dangerous. Jerry Yates has been superb for us. He’s always available when you’re moving the ball down the middle, and he’s a good focal point to bring everyone else into play.

“We’ve then got Hallam and Naders who are another two speedsters who catch pigeons. We’re clicking at the moment and it’s going well.”

“It’s obviously a nice result to get against my former side,” he admitted. “Also, with it being Boxing Day, it was a bumper crowd. It’s a tradition for families to go to the game and hopefully those who came along will think ‘ooh, that’s not too bad’ and they’ll come back again.

“I think the fans make a huge difference with the way they back us. It’s a great turnout for the club and we just hope they enjoyed it.”

With his departure from Oldham coming under a cloud earlier this year, he confirmed that the process was ongoing in the wake of a latter of warning about future conduct being received from the FA.

“I can’t really go into detail [about the situation] because there’s a legal process I have to go down,” he said. “I won’t go into it in too much depth, but on a physical and mental side it’s been quite tiring, to be honest.

“It has taken its toll and I’ve had alopecia, having never had it before. It just sprouted up out of nowhere, so I look like a little bit of a dalmatian at the moment. Even though you know you’re a big boy, something like this is just not needed, it’s not handy.

“On Friday, when the statement came out, and your missus is crying on the phone and saying ‘how can they do this, they’re trying to ruin you’ it does get to you a bit. I was on the phone to the FA and PFA to talk about the fact they’d found me not guilty, and I’d been given a warning about it five weeks ago, and now the statement is out.

“It is what it is, but there’s a legal process and when all is said and done it’ll come out in the wash. I was sacked for one thing, with the paperwork submitted about that, and they flipped it when this so-called racism thing came out to say they sacked me for that. Like I say, it’s all in hand and I’ve got a solicitor who is on with at present.

“My performance at Crawley was nowhere near what it has been of late, and it just so happens all of that shenanigans happened on the Friday before that game. I was worried about my missus and other bits and pieces, so I wasn’t 100% on it. That showed in how I played.

“I’m back to it having enjoyed a lovely Christmas with my family. It is ongoing so it’s just a case of compartmentalising it every day. Football pays the bills and that’s all that matters to me. You’ve got to have something burning inside that makes you keep on wanting to do it, and that’s what I have.”

Back to the manner of the emphatic victory, he told us: “Every player enjoys winning. I’m in an environment where there are people who believe in me and who know what I’m capable of.

“I’m enjoying my football and doing well in this league is very fine margins. It’s about people having belief in themselves and their ability. If they have that they’ll see they can do it and they can then go on to produce it on a consistent basis.

“These last three games have shown that going forward we will always create chances, and defensively we can be strong. It’s not a coincidence that we’re working as a unit, and not just as a back four or back five.

“The full eleven are defending together and we’re seeing how the 4-3-3 can be beneficial.”

Match Previews

BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Macclesfield up next in our next festive fixture

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Next up for the Blues is the visit of Macclesfield Town on Saturday afternoon.

“Since Sol Campbell went in there I think he’s revolutionised how they’ve played,” he commented. “He wants them to play football, but we’ll relish that if they do that when they come here. Hopefully we’ll be ruthless on the counter again.

“Let’s keep doing it one game at a time but these last three games have given us a huge building block.”

As for the immediate future, and with his current contract due to expire in January, we wondered if he’d had any thoughts on what he wants to do next, with the number 5 shirt his to keep, should he want to do so.

“I’ve had my offer, so we’ll see,” he confirmed. “I’m getting on really well with the supporters, but I play for the fans everywhere I go.

“Even the Oldham fans, when I was there, clapped me and sang my name. It’s since I left that they’ve given me dog’s abuse. That’s football fans for you and it can be a bit of a pantomime at times.”

“I’m just trying to enjoy the last years of my career with a smile in my face,” he added. “I’d loved to have played at a higher standard, but I find myself in League Two.

“That’s down to myself, partly, but also some people’s opinion of me as a person and as a player.

“It is what it is and there are players out there who have never played in the professional game. They play semi-pro where they train twice a week and play on a weekend. For me they are the die-hard footballers. Once I finish playing, I definitely won’t be doing that.”

“I’d never been to Carlisle other than driving past or going through on the train,” he concluded. “When you see some of the buildings, they’re amazing.

“There’s the castle, I didn’t even know Carlisle had a castle, I thought it was just fields and flood plains!

“It’s a lovely place and I am enjoying it here, so just let’s see what comes.”

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