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INTERVIEW: I didn't want to leave this club

Anthony Gerrard on staying with United until the end of the season

11 January 2019

We caught up with defender Anthony Gerrard this week to get his thoughts on staying at Brunton Park until the end of the season.

“I’m enjoying being here and I’m enjoying my football,” he told us. “It obviously helps when you’ve won six games on the bounce. We’ve cemented our place in the play-offs, and we’re in touching distance of the automatic places, so I think it would have been a bit of unfinished business if I’d gone anywhere else.

“My time here in the last six months has had a major sway in me making the decision to stay for the rest of the season. I’m here for another six months and I’m still out to prove a point and set the record straight."

“Ultimately I didn’t want to leave this club," he added. "I would have liked the deal to be a bit longer, so I knew what I was doing next year, but the powers that be didn’t want that and I can understand their reasons behind it.

"I know it’s been said that the club will be happy to discuss a longer deal in the summer, and it would have been nice to get that sorted now, but I’m just happy to be here and I just want to make sure we fulfil our potential.

“Look, players will always want a bit of stability, and I’m no different. I would have liked a longer deal, but at this moment in time the club couldn’t give me that, and I understand why. Obviously if I'm playing well and we get to where we want to get to at the end of the season there'll be another conversation to be had."

"I’ve been a footballer a long time, I know exactly how football works in terms of the good, the bad and the ugly," he explained. "I’m coming to the last two years of my football career officially, because they say you’re supposed to retire at 35, so I just want to enjoy it and play with a smile on my face.

“I’ve played pretty much every minute of every game I’ve been available for since I signed and that’s another important thing for me. People talk about me not being fit, and this and that. I know I carry a bit of timber, let’s make no bones about that, but it doesn’t hinder me on the pitch.

“It’s a bit of a standing joke between me and the lads, but after every good game I have I always seem to say ‘imagine where I would be if I was two stone lighter!'

"My football ability has never been in question, it’s the other bits and pieces, but everyone who knows me knows I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of lad. Even when I’m struggling with a little knock, I still put myself out on the pitch.

"I think that’s a bit of dying breed in football. There are people who will go down with a sprained sock and end up having to go off, but that’s not me. I’m here to do a job for Carlisle and hopefully we can do that."

On rumours that he'd had interest from elsewhere, he said: “There was other interest, but it didn't make sense to go anywhere else, particularly with our position in the league at the moment.

"I can’t say whether Chesterfield were one of those clubs, so read into that what you will. We’ve got a real chance of achieving something, so I think if I did leave it would always have been a ‘what if’. I don’t do 'what ifs' I just want to make sure I do something good for this club.

“This is a fantastic club and the people are very hospitable. I love a laugh and a joke, but when it’s time to get serious I get serious. I think it just needs an injection of a bit of happiness and success, and hopefully we can provide that this season."

And on the recent departure of John Sheridan, he said: “I’ve got a fantastic relationship with Shez and I think he’s done a lot of good work this season, including getting us on this recent run of wins.

"He was trying to drill home what we're capable of, and I think him upsetting a few people got the right reaction, maybe a reaction he didn’t necessarily want, but he had to do it.

"Sometimes he goes about it in the wrong way, or people think he’s going about it in the wrong way, but ultimately he’s a winner. If that means upsetting people, which I think he did, then so be it. He left when we were on a run of five games on the bounce, and we carried that on against Mansfield.

“The manager leaving didn’t really put a doubt in my mind about staying here. It might have been different if we were 18th in the league and floundering down the bottom end of the table, but we’re flying at the moment.

"We’ve got a good group of lads here who want to achieve something, and there's a distinct possibility that could happen. It’s about us trying to keep this consistency that we’ve been banging on about for so long now.

“I thought the Mansfield game was one of our best performances for a long time. We scored some great goals that probably belong at a higher level. That shows how far we’ve come.

"The home fans got right behind us on Saturday which was great to hear. If we can get that in every home game from now until the end of the season I think that will be a great benefit to us as players, and for the club.

“I was even getting involved in the football on Saturday! I went on a bit of a run, but once I got over the half way line I think my nose started to bleed a little bit. I used to do that quite often in my younger days, but I tend to just leave that to Gary Liddle these days.

"It was nice to get up the pitch and I thought the little left-footed dink over the centre half was on for Hallam [Hope] but I just didn’t put enough on it."

Speaking about what he wants from himself over the next six months, he commented: “Self-belief and self-confidence are major things in football which I’ve spoken about before.

"Sometimes when you’re playing in League One or League Two your self-confidence can go because you think you could be playing higher. Until you start achieving things and producing things on the pitch, that self-confidence doesn’t grow.

“I think honesty is a major thing in any walk of life, whatever job you do. If you’re honest about what you give and what you’re capable of then people can accept that. If you’re all mouth, people look through that because it’s quite transparent. Honesty is a major part for me, and that’s what I give on the pitch."

But will the current behind-the-scenes situation affect the dressing room in any way?

“The situation we’re in at the moment in terms of not having a manager won’t really affect us," he insisted. "The lads have been calling me gaffer and I think they want me to apply for the job, but I’ll wait until I’ve done my coaching badges first!

"In all seriousness, the job is there for someone to take, whether that’s a new man or Tommy [Wright] and Paul [Murray], and it's there for them to go on and build on Shez’s success.

"He’s put us in a fantastic position, but things don’t always work out the way you plan in football, so hopefully we can have a finish to the season that will be memorable.

“If I was in charge of the recruitment of a new manager, or if I was the director of football or CEO, I would probably go in the direction of Tommy and Paul to keep the consistency and the continuity.

"I think if you bring a new manager in it could be inviting trouble, they could come in with new ideas and a new philosophy. It always seems to be the way that a new manager comes in and decides the lads aren’t fit enough, so you have to do loads of running - which wouldn’t go down well with me! I just think consistency is key.

"That's just my thoughts though, they don't count for much, and it's all about opinion in this game."

And with the lads looking to take their unbeaten run to Northampton, he told us: “When you’re on a good run you’re always there to be shot down, and we know teams will be looking at us and wanting to beat us.

"Mansfield were on a great unbeaten run of 17, which is a great achievement, but there were a lot of draws in there. We aren’t drawing at the moment, we’re consistently putting wins together.

"If this run comes to an end, it’s about how quickly we can get back on a winning streak. Nothing lasts forever, there will come a time where we do get beat, but it’s always about how you react to it.

“It’s the most boring cliché in football, but you really do just have to take things one game at a time and not look too far forward. If you start losing sight of what’s next you can quickly fall down the table."

Click HERE to watch an interview with Anthony Gerrard on iFollow United now.

Click HERE to see a clip from this interview on our YouTube channel. Follow the same link for more FREE content right from the heart of the club.


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