Sunday, 25 March 2012

TWINTERVIEW: Elliot Bradbrook

Dartford Football Club is thriving. Promoted twice in the last four seasons, the north Kent outfit are now straining to get out of Conference South in only their second season at that level. The Darts lifted the Kent Senior Cup at the impressive Princes Park last term and they remain on course to defend the trophy after beating Charlton to book their place in the 2012 final.

On and off the field, the club looks ready to mount - and sustain - a charge towards the Football League. The man leading them towards the Promised Land is manager Tony Burman, while captain Elliot Bradbrook is his on-field lieutenant.

The Darts skipper cuts an experienced figure on the pitch but in the Twittersphere, he's a relative novice. We struck up a twinterview shortly after Bradbrook had found the back of the net in last week's crushing victory over promotion rivals Sutton United. By their very nature, twinterviews elicit more thoughtful answers than a face-to-face scenario, as illustrated by the chat which unfolded below.

You've just smashed Sutton 6-1. What's the changing-room like immediately after a game like that?

Everyone was delighted with the performance and result. It was definitely one of our best performances of the season against a good side.

As skipper, do you say much before and after the game or do you leave that to Tony?

There are a few in the changing-room that could easily be captain, so the responsibility is shared out. We all do our bit for each other.

What was your first pair of boots?

Haha I remember having a proper old school pair of black and white Puma Kings when I first started playing.

Solid. Who are your best friends in football?

I have a lot of friends back in America that are playing professionally out there at the moment from when I was at uni. But over here, you've got the likes of Lee Burns and Ryan Hayes who have been with me at Dartford for a few years now, plus a few of the newer lads.

By my calculations you're just ahead of Tom in this season's Bradbrook v Bradbrook goal race. Is there much brotherly banter flying around?

Haha I give him a little reminder every now and then!! But to be fair he has not been playing as much as I have, and I am lucky to be playing in one of the best teams around at the moment. Tom hasn't been getting games at Margate, which I can't understand as he is one of the best strikers in that league and scores goals whenever he does play.

Dartford are certainly a club going places. What's it like to be part of that, and what's the biggest factor behind it?

It's a big honour to be a part of it. The club has got some great fans that have kept the club alive over the years so it's great to see their hard work paying off. It's our responsibility on the pitch to make sure this club pushes on to becoming a football league club as that is the ultimate goal. I just want to do my bit in making that happen. There are good years ahead at Dartford and I'm lucky to be there.

Do you think you can reach the Football League while you're a Darts player?

I think the only realistic way to get into the Football League (and out of the Conference) is by going full-time. That is not really an option for me, so I'm just focused on helping this club get promoted to the Conference National. Hopefully this year!! I will be here for as long as the management want me. I'm sure this club will go full-time at some point so I would like to be here until that happens.

How hot do you have your chicken at Nando's?

Good question. Lemon and herb, but medium if I'm feeling adventurous.

Thanks! Who's going to win the Premier League, the Champions League and Euro 2012?

No probs. In that order - Man U, Barcelona, Spain.

Who's the changing-room DJ at Dartford and what music gets played before kick-off?

Tom Bonner is the DJ.... A mix of old school garage, house and hip hop... He was awful but has got better.

What's the best goal you've scored? Talk us through it.

My favourite goal was a few years ago in America. It was the first game of the season and I had been injured for the past six months. The ball came out to me on the edge of the box and I smashed it top corner. Probably not my 'best' but definitely my favourite.

Tell us something we wouldn't know about the gaffer.

What you wouldn't know about Tony - the fact that he made us sit through a 90-minute video of him playing for Charlton in the 1970s just so he could show off because he played against George Best. Big head!!

Some team-mate questions. Who's the joker, who's the hard man and who's the biggest moaner?

We have quite a few jokers - Lee Burns and Tom Champion are hilarious. Hard man - I will go for Lee Noble. He's about 4 foot tall but puts it about a bit and loves a tackle. Danny Harris is the biggest moaner by an absolute mile.

Finally, you've got one tweet to tell the world about Dartford FC. Go...

DFC - best non-league club in the country!!!

You can follow @EBradbrook10 on Twitter

Thursday, 22 March 2012

TWINTERVIEW: Liam Enver-Marum

A hugely valuable trait in any manager is the ability to bring the best out of a player who has struggled to shine at previous clubs, becoming something of a forgotten man despite boasting obvious talent. Ebbsfleet United boss Liam Daish is one such manager and Liam Enver-Marum is one such player.

The Irish-born striker certainly knows his way around Conference Premier, having spent time at Cambridge United, Woking, Eastbourne Borough, Crawley Town, Hayes & Yeading and Forest Green Rovers before moving to Stonebridge Road in summer 2011. Enver-Marum's physical prowess and striking instinct have never been in question, although his nomadic footballing journey seemed to be lacking direction until Daish brought him to north Kent.

Enver-Marum shone in pre-season and his form was rewarded with a place in the starting XI against York City on the opening day of the new campaign, keeping Calum Willock - last season's top scorer - on the bench. The pair now have 32 goals between them, with Willock - another of the Conference's forgotten men - continuing to flourish under Daish's tutelage.

As passionate on his Twitter page as he is on the pitch, I felt sure Enver-Marum would be a worthy twinterviewee. I wasn't wrong...

What's your earliest memory of football?

My earliest memory of football would be my dad taking down me the local park with my brother and teaching us basic technique haha.

You're from a footballing family then?

Yeah, my dad was a youngster at Fulham. Apparently he was an ugly centre half, which I can believe haha.

Who were your heroes growing up?

Ultimate hero is Eric Cantona. But I also loved [Thierry] Henry.

What's the best pre-game food?

I normally eat chicken and pasta.

Can't go wrong with that. Who's your favourite football commentator, past or present?

I would have to say Clive Tyldesley because of his legendary commentating during the Manchester United v Bayern Munich European Cup final [in 1999].

Who are the best players you've played with and against?

Best player I've played with will have to be Les Ferdinand. And players against will be Arturo Lupoli and Alex Song.

When did you play with Sir Les?

In a Reading reserve game. Not great but can still say I've played with him haha.

You seem really settled at Ebbsfleet. What's been different there compared with your previous clubs?

Well, to be honest, it's the happiest I've been in my career to date. I think the only difference is I've been given a real chance to show what I can do and the gaffer really believes in me. That makes it that bit easier to perform well.

All the players speak highly of Liam Daish. What is it that makes him such a good manager to work for?

He tells you how it is, whether you're doing well or not so well. He gives you confidence to play your best and knows how to man manage.

Messi's just broken the Barca scoring record. Should we be talking about him as the greatest player ever now?

Until he wins a World Cup single-handedly, he's not the greatest player ever in my eyes. BUT a close second.

Are we talking Pele or Maradona? It's true that the little man's never really reproduced his club form for Argentina.

Maradona. Yeah, Messi needs to do for Argentina what he does for Barca before he's the best ever.

You occasionally tweet famous quotes or mantras. Are you a bit of a philosopher on the side?

Hahaha NO I just appreciate a good quote, they make me feel good.

Three team-mate questions: who's the best trainer, who's the smartest and who's the biggest moaner?

Best trainer would be Joe Howe, smartest is Cesc [Giannoulis Fakinos], biggest moaner is by far Stoney [Craig Stone].

Would you like to play abroad one day?

I was nearly going to Malta before I signed for Ebbsfleet. I would love to play for Besiktas in Turkey one day.

Interesting stuff. I grew up watching Woking so saw you play a fair bit there. How do you look back on your time at Kingfield?

I have mixed emotions when I think back on my time at Woking. Let's just say I would do things a lot different if I could turn back time.

We've seen lots of 'Pray For Muamba' messages this week. Do you believe in the power of prayer?

I believe that God is in control of everything and if you pray enough for something he'll hear you.

Best game you've played in?

Eastbourne v Oxford two years ago. We had to win on the last day of the season to stay up and we scored a penalty in the 90th minute. Great feeling.

NOTE: Ebbsfleet were relegated on the same day despite winning 4-3 at Tamworth.

Finally, you've got one tweet to tell the world about Ebbsfleet United. Go...

The Fleet are a tight-knit club with great fans and management. The players are more like a family than colleagues and deserve more success.

You can follow @LIAM_E_M on Twitter