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INTERVIEW: I haven't got a bad word to say about the club

Anthony Gerrard on his time at Brunton Park

20 May 2019

Defender Anthony Gerrard made 44 appearances for United last season, having signed for the club in August, after the season had started, and we caught up with him this week to get his thoughts on his time in Cumbria.

“I was pleased with the amount of appearances I made in the end," he told us. "It was just disappointing that we didn’t have an extra three games to play, because that would have meant we’d got into the play-offs.

“I said at the start of the year that I knew I’d had a bad game in my first appearance against Blackburn. I didn’t feel sharp, or fit, but I felt that I grew into the season after that. I think I only missed something like two league games all season, which was pleasing.

“Before January I don’t think I ever would have said it was disappointing not to get into the play-offs, because the way we were playing I thought automatic promotion should have been the aim, never mind the play-offs.

“When we had those six wins on the spin everyone knew exactly what they were doing and how we were playing. January came and things went a little bit south with the loan players going back and new faces coming in. Those new lads had to adapt and we obviously had a new manager coming in as well.

"It was tough for us, but I think we showed what a good team we could be. I suppose another disappointment was that I didn't manage to score, but I can’t even remember getting close!

"I should have stuck my head on at least one, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes."

On the backdrop to his move up to Cumbria, he told us: “In the most part I enjoyed my time at Oldham, but it did get to a point where I needed a fresh start.

"The club was a little bit quirky, but the players and coaching staff were really good. All of the admin staff were fantastic, it was just one owner who almost thought he was playing Championship Manager.

“There are people taking him to court now, and he tried to drag my name through the mud as well, but I don’t think I’m that sort of person. The move up to Carlisle was exactly what I needed, because it allowed me to concentrate on football instead of everything else that was going on at Oldham."

Having made the move up the M6, he found himself taking a few of the younger players under his wing as he offered advice on how to make the most of their opportunity.

“As a senior player I always think it would be a bit selfish if I didn’t try and give advice to younger players, and it’s something I’ve always done," he told us. "I’ve always been that leader type in the dressing room, even since I was a kid.

"Even in the reserves at Everton, when I first started, I didn’t have any issue with asking people to do their job if I felt I'd seen something going wrong.

“We had a young group this season so I thought it was important to pass advice on to lads who hadn’t played a lot of games. We had the likes of Regan Slater, Jerry Yates, Jack Sowerby, Ashley Nadesan, Callum O’Hare and our own young lads.

"I’d actually like to mention Callum, I’ve just seen he won the player of the month for April, and that’s testament to him because he’s an excellent footballer.

"We had the likes of Liam McCarron and Jarrad Branthwaite coming through as well, and I think those two boys have got a chance. Like I said, I think it would be selfish of me not to try and help in any way I can with those boys, especially Jarrad with him being a centre half, and I just wanted to hopefully pass little bits of knowledge on that I’ve picked up throughout my career."

On the strong relationship he built up with the fans, he commented: “The supporters were fantastic with me throughout the whole season.

"They didn’t give me any grief or hassle, which was different to Oldham. Those Oldham fans only saw one side of the story, no one has heard my side of it and I don’t think I need to go into that. The Cumbrian fans took to me and they’ve wished me all the best.

"They travel everywhere in great numbers every other week, and there’s nothing more you can ask for as a footballer. I always made sure I was one of the first over to them to applaud them after every game, home or away, because as players we’re only passing through. It’s their club at the end of the day.

"No doubt I’ll be up to Brunton Park to watch a game as a fan. I haven’t got a bad word to say about the club, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on how they get on next year. The fans took me in, and all of the admin staff that the fans don’t see were great with me.

"That’s all you can ask for as a footballer. If you’re treated with respect and honesty you give your absolute best for the club, and that’s what I did throughout my time there."

Club News


23 May 2019

And on what it felt like to leave Brunton Park for the last time last Monday, he said: “I wouldn’t say it was strange to leave last week because I could see the decision coming, even though nobody had actually told me.

"I think when you get experienced in football you understand certain things and I was prepared for it. That's just how football is, especially in League One and League Two.

"I had a good chat with the manager, he thanked me for my performances this season, but he told me he wasn’t going to offer me a contract - simple as that. I know I’m getting on a bit now, I’m 33, but I’ve still got loads of football to play. I respect that the club want to go in a different direction, and I’ll move on."

But as for what comes next, he told us: "I’ve spoken to a couple of people, I spoke to a club last week in the Football League, but it’s still a bit early.

"I’m enjoying doing my dad stuff at the moment. I’ve been doing the school runs and going to football training and things like that. Once I settle myself into that I’ll see what my next move is.

“I’m involved in a road safety app called Busby as well, which will keep me busy. We’re just in the process of trying to get that up and out there, so if all the Carlisle fans could download it when it comes out that would be great!

"I’m trying to get Chris Boardman involved as well, because I think he’s the sort of person who would really help kickstart it.

“I’ve also been speaking to Danny [Grainger] quite a bit over the last couple of weeks about his academy. I’m looking at maybe setting one of those up around the area where I grew up, because there are some special footballers who are produced in our area and maybe a few slip through the net.

"I’ve got plenty of things in the pipeline, as much as everyone thinks football is the be-all and end-all, it really isn’t, and I'll enjoy doing other things over the next couple of months."

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