Captain's Chat with Nathan Campbell
Steve Hole sits down with our captain, Nathan Campbell, to find out how he viewed last season and his thoughts on the rapidly approaching 2019/2020 season.
He tells us of his admiration for the younger lads in the team, the good news that his hand is now healed and he can do press ups again oh, and how he enjoys a nice coach trip!
Not forgetting either that our Nathan was the only Leafe player to be named in last season’s Bostik South East Team of the Season side …he tells us his thoughts on that.
Nathan, how do you think last season went?
Mixed feelings about last season, to be honest.
Up until Christmas I think we were brilliant, and although not all results went our way we played with a swagger plus we always backed ourselves to win.
Personally, for me it was frustrating as I knew I had to have the operation on my hand but still missing such a chunk of the season was disappointing.
I think in the second half of the season we let ourselves down a bit and didn’t stick to what had brought us so much success, earlier on. However, this forthcoming season I think that will educate and improve the boys - especially mentally – to be successful.
You were one of the few senior players in the team, what are your views on some of the younger boys?
Top class! Everyone who is at Whyteleafe currently, is here because they want to learn and improve and I believe every young player is doing that. In football, sheer ability isn’t enough and I think the boys grew so much throughout the season and developed as young men that they will go on to be successful.
Harry and Calum have unearthed some outstanding talent - and continue to do so - you must watch what's going on in front of you in wonderment sometimes?
Harry and Calum deserve a lot of praise. Their principles, style and the way they improve players is second to none.
Some of the ability in our changing room is frightening. It’s part of the reason I still play to be honest as is the enjoyment in the way we way and seeing these young lads develop. I know if they learn the other side of the game they will have big careers in the game.
What are your views, hopes and aspirations on the coming season?
As I said earlier, I think if we stick to our principles and strengths, keep the group together, I think we can replicate where we were at Christmas this season and be amongst those challenging.
It will be tough, just as it was last year, as there some big budgets in our league. However, I truly believe that we have a unique environment and a changing room that has learned a lot from last season and so will improve!
Yours were big boots to fill when you were out injured, how's your hand now?
Ha, ha thanks. I definitely would have preferred to be playing, but yeah, all good now! I can now bear to put weight on it and the surgeon has said it is in really good condition.
I can finally do a press up again and go to the gym... simple pleasures... ha, ha
High points of last season?
Both games against Corinthian Casuals were quality. Although we won the replay, we bossed them at their place and should have won comfortably.
Cray Wanderers away was quality as I think the level, intensity and tactics of that game was probably the best you will see at our level.
...and inevitably, you knew this was coming, the low points?
Definitely not being able to play against St Albans in the FA Cup qualifying round. The form and confidence we had shown up until that point was impressive and I honestly think we would have pushed them. It also would have been good for the younger lads especially, to test themselves at that level (National League South side – and a decent one).
Plus, our first defeat at Sittingbourne away was a disappointment because we were so poor. Finally, until my operation, I had felt in really good shape and in good form so I was gutted to have to be out for so long.
How did you enjoy your first season at Leafe, Nathan?
Quality! The way the fan-base grew, our brand and style of football was fantastic at times! To be at my age I can honestly say I still learnt something which feels rewarding.
Finally, that coach journey home from Hastings (when we beat them in the FA Trophy) sums it up - one big family! I can’t wait to be back at Church Road, for the pre-season matches.