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INTERVIEW: It was a great way to end

Max Kilsby on a very good loan spell with Annan

23 May 2023


INTERVIEW: It was a great way to end

Max Kilsby on a very good loan spell with Annan

23 May 2023

First-year pro Max Kilsby headed off on an initial half-season loan spell with Scottish League Two side Annan Athletic at the start of this campaign, but that was quickly extended during the winter window as he settled into life with Peter Murphy’s comfortably.

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And the year-long stay came to a close in dramatic style as he played a huge part in what became a successful play-off campaign, and a promotion to League One with a stunning win over Clyde.

“I couldn’t wish for a better ending,” the 19-year-old told us. “Obviously we had a tough start in the league, we didn’t win many games, but once we got going and started playing as a team it was good, and it was a perfect way for it to end.

“I think we peaked at the right time. We went into the play-offs with some good wins under our belts and good momentum. I’m really pleased that we managed to get promoted.”

Initially finding himself on the bench through the early stages of the season, he revealed that boss Peter Murphy had offered some sage advice.

“It was good for me to sit on the bench for some of those games and watch what it was all about,” he told us. “It’s been my first season in men’s football and it was so different compared to last season in the youth team.

“It was good for me to learn from the other players there. There are people like Swings [Steve Swinglehurst], who was here about 10 years ago, he’s just a great role model.

“Willie Gibson came in back in January and he was another ideal role model. I enjoyed watching and learning from them then, when I got my chance, I took it.


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“It’s done loads for me because when you’re playing every week, and you know you’re confident, you just feel so much better. I feel like it’s really brought my game on, and it’s been good to know that the manager believes in me and that he’ll play me.

“Murph didn’t say too much, really, when I was a sub, but he was encouraging me and letting me know that he did still believe in me, and that all I had to do was keep working hard.

“He even said that it wasn’t a bad thing that I was sitting on the bench. He told me to take my time and that I had to earn my place, just like everybody else. You’re never guaranteed anything and he was really helpful. He’s just a really good manager to have and to go on loan to."

That patience paid off as he started to earn a regular starting shirt, culminating in an extremely exciting play-off campaign.

“Those are the games that everyone wants to play in,” he agreed. “League games are important, but going into the play-offs knowing you can get into the league above, it’s what you want to be involved for.

“To win them and score a few goals as well is just unbelievable."


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And what a brace of stunners those goals were!

“For the first one I just saw the ball come out to me and straight away I thought, you know what, I’m just going to smash this,” he explained.

When I saw it hit the back of the net - words can’t really describe it. I was absolutely delighted.

“Then the second one came along as well. When that went in it was just, look, it wasn’t a shock, but again, I can’t even put it into words for how it felt to help the team get promoted.

“They’ve tried for so many years to do this so for them to finally do it, and me to be involved, it really is unbelievable. And scoring the goals, there’s no better feeling.

“Like I say, they’ve been in the play-offs a few times, so to be in the team that does it, well, it’s an honour really.”

“It’s good to get that promotion on my CV and now I just have to wait and see what happens here,” he concluded. “At the moment it’s about looking forward to Wembley at the weekend.

“Believe it or not there wasn’t actually a trophy or a medal for us winning against Clyde.

“But all of my family were there, I think there was about seven or eight of them, so to see them in the crowd and then coming onto the pitch and everything was brilliant. That’s what it’s all about really.”

And now he’s off to London with the Blues.

“I know and I can’t wait for the weekend,” he admitted. “Hopefully I’ll get two promotions. It should be good and hopefully the lads do it.”

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