City’s centre half Tom Hamblin talks about why he loves being at Gloucester, becoming a senior player and his hope for the season in the latest of our in depth interviews.
You’ve renewed your two year deal to stay at Glos – what made you stay? Were you ever going anywhere else?
Tom: “To sign another two year deal with Gloucester City was a no brainer for me really,since I’ve joined the club I’ve always enjoyed my time here and long may it continue. It was a combination of things that made me stay really from the gaffer and Ade to the team that were building,the fans and just the club in general. When this new contract finishes I’ll be 27 so I’d like to think my best years are still to come.
“To be honest I was never going anywhere else, I’d spoken to the Gaffer a few months ago and I’d made my decision back then. There’s nowhere that I’d rather be right now I’m enjoying my football, I’m looking forward to this season and hopefully we can fulfil our potential.”
Both the Gaffer and Matt Coupe have said you (and Jack Harris) are the future of the club (Boris even said you are the new Coupey!) is that flattering? How do you feel about that? Do you feel like a senior player now?
Tom: “Well I still consider myself to be one of the younger ones! However looking at our team we are relatively young now so I am leaning towards being one of the seniors. Saying that though I am still learning a lot and I think playing alongside Coupey will help me, I’m still only 25 and Vern’s younger again so hopefully if we both stay fit we’ll be with Gloucester for the foreseeable future.
“Being mentioned as the new Coupey, yeah its flattering as he’s had a great career and success at Bath so that part’s nice, however I wouldn’t want to be as hated as him lol (he’s the non-league Joey Barton).”
City had a strong defence last season – what was the key? And how can you build on it in the new season?
Tom: “I think the key is consistency. If you can regularly put out the same back four then you can gain an understanding and build from there. Apart from Jack Harris where he was coming back from injury. Myself , Coupey and Greener (Mike Green the right back) all had relatively injury free seasons so this helps when trying to put a bit of form together. Trying to build on last year again, I think comes down to the consistency,last year we had a few games where we played well and we just seem to let points get away from us. This year will hopefully be different, I believe we’re better then where we finished in the table and hopefully in the new season we’ll prove it.”
You came to City from a local Bristol club, how hard has it been in the past four years stepping up to Southern Prem then BSN level?
Tom” “My first year at Gloucester I remember being the hardest for me. Coming from a local Bristol club then making the step up was quite tough, I found that I wasn’t fit enough and probably carrying a bit of excess weight!
“It wasn’t so much the physical side but the pace of the game and fitness which was the big difference. Stepping up to the BSN it changed again and you get a combination of all these really,the games are faster,players are fitter and then it’s a lot more physical.”
Who is the biggest influence on how you play? Is it a particular player/ person? How have the Gaffer and his team helped you over the years?
Tom: “I wouldn’t really say I try and play like anyone, My parents have been a big influence on me when I was younger ferrying me around every Saturday and Sunday across Bristol to play for my local team.
“The Gaffer , Ade and Muz have all been great since I’ve been here. Gaffer brought me here when he first joined as assistant to Tim Harris and his support since then has been fantastic I’ve really enjoyed playing under him. Same goes for Ade and Muz, they are all really approachable and will always help so its hard not to get along with them.”
What is the key to the team spirit at City? And who would you say you get on best with and why?
Tom: “I don’t really know to be honest, I would say that the fact a lot of us are good mates away from football helps but everyone gets on with everyone theres never any rifts etc in the team. We all have a craic together, senior players get just as much stick as the younger ones,there’s never any cliques in the dressing room and i think this goes a long way to helping towards playing for each other.
“I’ve know Vern since he joined as we used to travel up together so I’ve always got on well with him away from football, Davo’s another good lad especially seeing the amount of banter he gets. Over the last few years I’ve been travelling with Daz Edwards and Coupey which is great (apart from some of their stories) again they’re good friends of mine away from football so its great. Like I said earlier though we all get on so when we have to spend hours together on the coach that’s a good craic it never feels like a chore.”
What are your hopes for next season?
Tom: “Realistically I think we have to be aiming for top 10 finish if not the playoffs,we should have finished higher then what we did this year. We have a good squad of players here now,the best since I’ve been at the club and with the gaffer looking to add one or two additions I think we can really push on this year.”