Liam Connell - Player interview
In his first full interview since signing we talk to experienced keeper Liam Connell.
You were announced as the clubs first signing of the season, what’s it like to be back?
It’s great to be back at Dunston, it’s a club I always wanted to return to and I'm glad I was given the chance when Swaz called me. I’ve always kept in touch with Swaz since I left Dunston a few years back. Billy Irwin, my old manager at Dunston who brought me in, played a key part as well. He was doing a bit of work on my old man's house and he pestered the life out of me to return, so Billy had a bit part in all of this as well.
We are building a strong squad with the signings that have been made so hopefully a successful season ahead.
How does the club compare to last time you were here?
Aesthetically the club has changed a lot, it’s had a lot of ground improvements and looks fantastic but the heart of the club hasn't changed. Dunston have a lot of good people helping the club out and this is why they have a great reputation in non-league football. Dunston still have the same ambition as last time I was here and that is to progress up the leagues as high as possible and with the committee, fans, management team and players I dont think we will be far away
How much of an asset will your experience of playing at a higher level be for the team this season?
I'm hoping it will help everyone out. I've played in and won this league with South Shields, as well as the leagues above, and there isn't a big difference. It’s very much the basics that you need to do well. If we can look after the ball and manage games effectively I'm sure we will do well.
I'm hoping I can bring calmness and trust with my experience. I've changed how I used to play since I was last at Dunston and I've been lucky enough to have played with some exceptional players and excellent coaches, so hopefully with what I have learned over the years I can pass on to my new team mates.
We ran a poll via social media earlier in the season asking our supporters who they thought was their greatest all-time Dunston XI. You were unanimously voted as the clubs greatest keeper of all time.
It’s always nice to be recognised as such an accolade but you are only as good as the team around you and during my time at Dunston I've played with many talented players.
The 2012 FA Vase winning side was an exceptional team, what was it like to play in that side?
The 2012 Vase side was a special team, we were and still are a close group of lads off the pitch to this day and having that togetherness got us through some hard games that year. We had a very good mixture of footballers, players that would put their heads where players these days wouldn’t put their feet and players that were sheer grafters and Billy Irwin and Harra (Tony Harrison) had a great mixture to balance off against each other.
Pre-season started well against North Shields, the result at home to Whickham was a surprise. What are your thoughts on pre-season so far?
Pre-season has been going well, the lads have been working hard in training and that showed when we played North shields. The result against Whickham was obviously not what we wanted and we were punished for silly mistakes, but at the end of the day its pre-season, the objectives of pre-season is to get game time fitness in, try out new systems and get used to new players and the way we all play. I would much rather lose all pre-season games and start the season off in the league winning than have pre-season too easy, win all the games and start off losing first game of the season. You learn nothing from that. Pre-season is about learning and that's exactly what we are currently doing and will continue to do over the coming weeks.
Liam Connell is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt and away shirts - Players of Dunston UTS FC’s F.A. Vase winning team of 2012
Training kit - Sponsorship available.