Cumbrian duo Adam Collin and Danny Grainger were guests of honour at a fantastic event on Thursday afternoon when adult patients at Eden Valley Hospice hosted a very informal but revealing question and answer session.
Eden Valley Hospice provides care for people with life limiting illnesses and it was a group of these patients, who attend the Day Hospice, who put the lads through an intense grilling on a full range of football related subjects.
A question on toughest opponents faced opened the afternoon grilling with Adam revealing that he always found Adebayo Akinfenwa to be a difficult player to come up against.
“He plays his game in a certain way and if you try to go up against him you lose,” he said. “You have to be very clever when you do have deal with him, but he is fantastic at what he does.”
When asked what drives a player to keep going year on year, Danny commented: “We never lose sight of the fact that we’re doing what most boys dream about doing.
“Along with that you have to set out to enjoy every minute of it, and that’s certainly how it’s been for me. As you get older your family comes into it, and you want to do as well as you can for them as well.
“If you’re doing that, and you keep getting contracts, you find that when you look back you’ve enjoyed every minute of it, even if you’ve been through some tougher times.”
Peter Schmeichel and Ryan Giggs were named as the pair’s icons when they were younger – with Danny letting slip that he used play on the left wing – and they both admitted that they’d like to stay in the game beyond their playing days, in a coaching or management capacity, as the probing continued from the floor.
Adam cited the play-off final game for Rotherham, when they beat Leyton Orient to win promotion at Wembley [two penalties were saved by United’s stopper that day], as a day he will never forget, with his back-to-back appearances at Wembley with the Cumbrians also getting an honourable mention.
Danny’s Scottish Cup Final heroics with Hearts, their first meeting with Hibs in that fixture for over 100 years, rightly takes his pride of place as the Jam Tarts ran out 5-1 winners, with the Blues captain notching a goal along the way. Leading his hometown club out at Anfield is another occasion he won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
Another fond football memory – very topical, as it happens – from Danny’s younger days was when he was stood right at the front of the Warwick just as Jimmy Glass smashed THAT goal into the back of the net.
“I looked over my shoulder just as everybody was piling onto the pitch to see if I was allowed to go with them,” he said. “I spotted my dad’s friend and he was shaking his head, so I played it safe and stayed where I was. Maybe I should just have gone with everybody!”
A fantastic 75-minute session concluded with a question on what the lads felt was important about the club and how the players could help to enhance the profile.
“We grew up together and we’re now playing for the club we both supported,” Adam said. “That’s why we do as much as we can community wise because we know how massive it is to the club for everybody to feel that they’re part of it.
“We’re doing something we’ve always wanted to do, but we also have a responsibility to meet people and to show that we all want the club to be successful together.”
“I can only echo that, and I’ll also say that all of the lads understand that,” Danny added. “That’s why we do as much of these appearances and events as we can.
“What I will say is that I’ve been with a number of clubs over the years, and none of them come close to the amount of community work that’s done by Carlisle United. Players are always out meeting different people and groups, and we think it’s fantastic.
“The club really does cover a lot of different events and I think everybody connected with Carlisle United can feel proud of that.”
To find out more about Eden Valley Hospice, click HERE.