As we pick up the second part of our interview with midfielder Brennan Dickenson, we spoke to him first about how much he’d learned after being plucked out of the non-league circuit by Championship club Brighton – a move which reignited his career.
“I learned so much,” he confirmed. “It taught me how to be a better footballer and how to act around a professional set up with first team players.
“Probably the biggest thing was seeing how to play football the way that Championship players do. The coaches, staff and players there teach you so much about football itself, especially the experienced players, and I’ve tried to take that forward with me to the other clubs I’ve been at, where I’ve tried to help out some of the younger lads along the way.
“It’ll be the same here. If there are any younger lads here who feel they can use my experience to help them then I’ll be only too happy to do that.”
His team with the Seagulls saw him go out on three loans which, again, were important learning experiences for a young player eager to make his mark.
“You have to go out on loan at 18 or 19 in my opinion,” he said. “I was quite lucky that I was at a Championship club because it made it more likely that I could get league football at that young age.
“It’s a bit harder for the younger lads in League One and League Two to get that. They often have to go and play non-league as part of their loan experiences.
“As much as that helps, with it being men’s football, it doesn’t give them a full idea of what league football can be like. To be able to play in League Two, for me, meant it was a big learning curve. I was with proper footballers who had been in the game for a long time.”
And the tools he was given at the likes of Colchester and Northampton did indeed stand him in good stead.
“They were all good moves and I’ve had over 200 games in the league now,” he told us. “I wouldn’t say I’m completely experienced, because you learn different things every day.
“When you go from different club to different club you learn things from the managers and lads along the way, but I do feel there’s a chance for me to come here and help as much as I can.
“I’ve had some great experiences, and Exeter was part of that. When I went there they were in a great position, second or third in the table, but Covid hit and that was a blow for us because we had the potential to go up automatically, definitely.
“We had to take that hit on the chin and make sure we made it into the play-offs. We won the semi-final against one of my former clubs [Colchester], which is always an interesting one, but we fell at the last hurdle unfortunately.
“Like I say, that’s a hit you have to take and I’ll use that experience now to come here and hopefully get a successful promotion push.
“Looking back, that day at Wembley is like a rollercoaster. You get to play there – best feeling in the world – then you lose and it’s the worst feeling in the world.
“It’s an experience not many are fortunate to have, but I obviously didn’t get the full experience of doing it and winning.”
With his move to Carlisle signed, sealed and delivered, it’s now about looking forward to this exciting new challenge.
“It can be daunting coming to a new place, but I think over the years you get used to it,” he commented. “It’s always nerve-wracking and if anyone says they’re not nervous then that’s up to them.
“I’d say it’s more like first day blues, but once you’ve settled in after a couple of days you’re fine and you just crack on. Everything always seems to work out.
“As for home life, me and my partner are going to move up and try to find a house, it’s as simple as that really.
“It’s a two-year deal so there’s a bit of security there, which is nice to have. Football is football, you never know what might happen, but the rest of the family will be down south and we’ll travel down, or they’ll come here, so that we keep in touch as much as possible.
“My family have supported me all the way through my career and my missus has been great, so she’ll pack up and move with me.”
But never having lived this far north before, he said: “I’ve got to show I’m committed to the club, and if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be stood here now.
“I can show that commitment by basically moving my life up here. I’m committed to the club for the next two years, at least, so we’ll see what happens.
“It’s a long journey but once you’re here you just need to get down, get the fun started and let the fun happen.”
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